Tuesday 24 January 2017


The Bleep Test has a lot to answer for. Ask any millennial with an ineptitude for sport and they’ll probably cite it as the reason they skipped PE class for the next decade.  As a teen I always thought exercise wasn’t for me – it was something ‘other people did’. Then, in my early twenties, I moved to London and discovered I had unintentionally upped sticks to the sportiest area of the city - you can’t move for joggers and protein shakes in Clapham. And so the exercise bug infected me (albeit very slowly), but not without it’s teething problems. As a total novice, I was clueless about working out and made every mistake in the book (HI SPORTS INJURIES). So I thought I’d share the tips that I wish I’d had to guide me along the way: 

1. Take baby steps

When I first started exercising some five years ago, the extent of my exertion was a 10-minute jog around the Common, followed by a trip to Starbucks to stuff my face with a muffin.

These baby steps, punctuated by muffins, eventually led to my running 5k, which then gave me the confidence to join a gym. What I'm trying to get across here is that my progress was very gradual. Nowadays, I do some form of exercise 3 – 4 times a week, which is plenty for me (I’ll never be a daily gym-goer). It’s all about finding your own personal balance and taking your time to build up your fitness slowly.   
Zakti Shoot 1
2. Invest in decent kit 

As a novice, I was clueless when it came to gym kit and found sports shops intimidating. Initially, I made the mistake of buying the cheapest sportswear possible. I soon realized the error of my ways; budget leggings reveal more than you bargained for (awkward). 

You also don’t have to spend a fortune – yes, Nike leggings are swaggy, but they’re also £60 a pop. It depends on the activity, but a good starting point is a decent pair of leggings (this pair of Zakti Active Running Tights are brilliant, I have both colours), a sports bra and specialist trainers (go to running shop for a gait analysis to find the right pair). If you’re exercising outdoors, you’ll also want a warm and waterproof yet breathable jacket for the colder months (the Zakti Active Inside Track Jacket is totally shower-proof and looks good outside of the gym too). 
3. Find the right exercise for you

Initially, it took some gym class trial and error to discover the (glaringly obvious) reason I wasn’t enjoying workouts; I was attending the wrong classes. Being naturally hyperactive, slow-paced classes, such as yoga, are a form of mental torture for me. Discovering Spin classes was a real game-changer – the fast pace, LOUD music and go-hard-or-go-home mentality suit my workout style. Last year I also developed an addiction to Boxfit which amused my friends no end as I now have some little biceps (!) So my advice is to shop around, try as many classes as possible and only attend the ones you find fun. 
4. Playlist is everything

Ok so I know this isn’t the case for everyone as plenty of people work out whilst listening to podcasts / audio books, but if you’re music-obsessed, don’t underestimate the power of a playlist. I swear I run ten times faster when I’m listening to drum and bass. Pre-workout I’ll always curate my own playlists populated with tracks from the likes of Rudimental, Matrix & Futurebound, Disclosure and David Guetta (trashy it may be, but Nothing But The Beat really is the best running album). Hip-hop is also good, Run The Jewels, Roots Manuva, that kinda thing. [I've linked my favourite running tracks if you need inspiration.] And, if you’re less picky, Spotify also have a plethora of playlists in every genre to save you the hassle.

5. Make Working Out a Social Occasion

Having always worked out solo, I wasn’t convinced when my friends suggested making Saturday workouts a social thing. I’m quite focused at the gym and don’t really welcome distraction. The surprising discovery? Working out with your BFF's is really fun and motivational. Nowadays my housemate and I do at least one class together a week and we have the best time getting sweaty and perving on instructors (ok, the latter is me). 
I'm wearing: Shake Shake Hoodie | Dashing Run Tights | The Inside Track Jacket | Physically Fit Vest 

This post was in collaboration with Zakti Active, whose sportswear I really rate. 

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