On Working Out w/ Friends Instead Of Alone

It's no longer enough to simply unwind by sitting back and relaxing. These days, we've swapped up massage beds for yoga mats and our shopping bags for boxing bags. We pummel away our stresses and pound the pavements, running away from our problems literally - or is that just me? Lol, #awks.

You know what's better than de-stressing with exercise? De-stressing with exercise, WITH a mate - mainly because when you fall flat on your arse mid-squat, there's someone there to pick you up again.

The smart people over at Danone are well aware of this, and alongside Broadly (Vice's very trendy feminist channel) have created a series of workout classes that you can sign up for in Shoreditch, for FREE.

While I work out on an almost daily basis in a group class (humble brag, soz), I rarely know anyone in the class. So, I went along to one of Danone's HIIT classes to rediscover the many positives of working out in a group, alongside a friend.

You can't bail

Once you've actually made it to a class, no one wants to be that person who walks out of a class. No one. Even if you know no one and certainly not if you have a friend in tow who will, without fail, embarrass you by telling other friends when you are least expecting it and most likely shoving down some sort of burger.

You can copy them when you get stuck

So, the great thing about a work out class is that you don't have to make up the work out what you're doing. The bad news is you have to follow whatever it is the class instructor says you should be doing. 

You've turned away for literally FIVE seconds to glug down some water because make no mistake, you are about to keel over from dehydration and you've only gone and bloody missed the next move. Four pairs of eyes are better than two and it's a lot less awkward staring at your BFF trying to work out whether you're lunging backwards or forwards, or god forbid that weird curtsey one to the side, than it is at some randomer you don't know in front of you. 

You've got someone to brunch with after

Who doesn't go in to an exercise class thinking about the food possibilities afterwards? Just me, again? Brunch is going to happen whether I do or don't make the class so better to make a mate date to go to the class followed by brunch then not, right? There's some logic to that somehow I'm sure.

Oh, and did I mention that they'll be there to pick you up when you fall?

Photographs by Elyse Kennedy

Danone and Broadly are hosting a series of workout classes at the Red Gallery on Rivington Street. You can sign up for the free classes here.

Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with Danone and Broadly. Light & Free is a delicious new range of Greek-style yoghurts from Danone. Each pot contains 30 percent fewer calories than most other full-fat fruit yoghurts available, zero percent added sugar, zero percent fat and is packed with luxurious pieces of real fruit making them even more irresistible. Click here to discover the range.

The Wellbeing Power Hour

On rare occasion, the best things seem to happen at a time when you're most in need. This is the case exactly when Brita and Liz Earle hosted a "Wellbeing Power Hour' at The Mondrian Hotel.

The idea was that we'd have fifteen minutes with four wonderful, successful and inspiring women to talk about various areas of well-being including fitness, the mind, the body and beauty.

In all honesty, I walked into the event mid-summer flu saga, feeling down beat and in the middle of a self-indulge existential crisis - sorry - but the refreshing attitudes of Liz Earle, Abigail James, Nina Samuel-Campbell and Rebecca Cox were warming and encouraging and I left the room ten times lighter and inspired.

If I was feeling a little more selfish this Monday morning, I'd keep the pearls of wisdom I picked up over that hour to myself but luckily for you, I'm in the mood to share.

Eat well, feel well

Obvious? Yes. But when has obviousness ever made something simple or easy? If ever there was a #womangoals #girlboss woman, Liz Earle is that. She created a successful beauty line and within fifteen years sold it and (most likely) made a good lump sum , yet still heads it up. She has five kids. Yet, from first glance, Liz is calm, collected and the epitome of beauty inside and out. Oh, and she has her own sustainable farm located in South West England.

Her foundations? Good, well-reared food is key to every successful lifestyle. Fifteen minutes with Liz had me wanting to sprint home, whip out the bin bags and dump every processed food found in our cupboards and sigh a sigh of remorse for every scrap that had passed my lips previously.

Meditation is KEY but it takes practice 

When I read about the habits of the women who's careers I aspire to and admire, a solid 3/4 of these include meditation. Of course I'm not the only one who finds it hard to switch off but I then feel guilty about not being able to switch off, which then makes it even harder to accomplish. Ring any bells?

That's normal and what an enlightenment that was to hear. Once you tell your brain to stop thinking, it doesn't hear the 'not' and a spiral of thoughts will ensue. Bloody typical, right? So, the simple answer is to allow yourself to think. Meditation is not about effectively 'switching off' but bringing your focus to something other than what is going on around you. Start with the focus on your breathing and as your mind wanders, don't stress but bring the focus back to your breath and so on.

Even the best athletes take a break

I've been training hard for months and seeing little improvement in both performance and body. It's frustrating to say the least. I said this to the fitness expert and her answer was to take an extended break. Not just a two days off to recover tired muscles but a week long period of little to no exercise. Recoup and then go back at it. I repeat, 'off-season' is a thing.

Give a little, lose a lot

Who knew that the best way to tackle oily skin was to nourish your skin with oil. Well, everyone else except me apparently. A little oil on your skin at night feeds it's oil requirements, slowly but surely decreasing oil production. What an absolute revelation!

Summer Dining @ Ping Pong

Even bloggers forget to take photographs of their food sometimes. This was the case at Ping Pong recently when I headed down to their Southbank branch to taste their new summer menu. It was only after scoffing down a few dumplings, rice and other delicious plates that I then remembered I'd be needing a photo and it was too little, too late.

The restaurant itself was jarred; it was a Tuesday and there was a queue out the door for a seat. There's an urban but cosmopolitan vibe to the place that welcomes and serves a varied clientele.

There's more to the food then just your average dim sum joint. Ping Pong's summer menu fuses  dishes such honey glazed spare ribs, fresh, steamed asparagus and duck and ginger dumplings - for someone with a bit of an Asian cuisine obsession, everything was right up my street. From one glance at the menu, my friends and I were salivating and what with such fast service, we didn't have to wait long to sink our teeth in either.

And the drinks? Well, firstly every day sees happy hour from 3pm - 7pm and who am I to decline a cocktail for a fiver? I stuck to mojitos - it's not hard to make or break such a classic but my friend's were a little more adventurous, ordering cocktails from the summer menu that were deconstructed and garnished with flower ice cubes. Pretty fancy, huh.

Ping Pong can be found at a variety of locations across London or ordered from Deliveroo online. You can book a table here.


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