3 gym classes you should try

Disclaimer: I am by no means a fitness guru. I have worked out for a number of years, but have no qualifications in this field; I’d just like to show you some things I’ve personally found to be of benefit to my body & mind.

Year on year, I try to take my fitness to the next level. I’ve been working out at the gym for around 5 years now, yet recently my routine became a little mundane. Don’t get me wrong, I would still hit the gym up at least three times a week, and go relatively hard when there, however it felt as though my body was getting used to the workouts I was doing. You see, working out is a bit like your sex life with a long-term partner, it needs to be kept interesting by trying new things.

So, one of my 2018 resolutions was to try some new gym classes, and having never done a class before, I was a little apprehensive. But, I thought, “F*CK IT – what’s the worst that can happen?”…

1. BODYPUMP

With a little help from my colleagues friends, I hit my first class. Bodypump was an apt class to start with as the gym, Kent’s, is close to my office, and you can pay on a class-by-class basis. This is ideal as I already have a monthly subscription at a different gym. I’d recommend checking out options near where you work; you need to make it as convenient as possible, so it’s difficult to find excuses for missing the class. And, believe me, you’ll do your utmost to find the excuses 😉

Growth tip:- Every time you don’t give in to these excuses, you build your prefrontal cortex (PFC). I’d suggest reading up on the science behind it, but I like to think of it as my ‘willpower muscle’ which is strengthened by resisting, and pushing through, my excuses. For instance, it’s pissing it down outside, so you could easily decide against walking to the gym and getting wet. Making the DECISION to walk anyway builds your willpower, even if it’s by 0.0001%, so the next time you make a decision it’s easier to ignore your own excuses. 

Bodypump is a barbell workout, led by an (in my case, hilarious) instructor, which involves lots of squatting and lifting, to music. As it’s based on high repetitions, it’s more likely to get you toned and lean, rather than helping you to build huge muscle mass (if you are looking to get ‘bigger’ the general consensus is to lift heavier weights for fewer rep’s). Bodypump is a great way to get into gym classes in general because you can use as light or as heavy weight as you like, depending on your ability at that point. Also, there is an element of rhythm involved, which seems to be the case in many classes, and so it gets you used to this. Alternatively, if you are looking to focus more on your rhythm as well as get fit, Zumba could be a great shout.

2. METAFIT

After a few weeks my body began to adapt to the strains of Bodypump, and so I decided to join the class before it as a kind of ‘warm-up’. Little did I know what I had signed myself up for… Metafit is a form of high-intensity interval training, which basically means quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods. You’ll find yourself doing exercises like burpees, sit-ups and squats… and sometimes all three at once! This is a shorter class than Bodypump, normally half an hour, but you really get put through your paces. The first time I did it I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. Although there is no barbell, your body-weight is enough to get you seriously panting. I see Metafit as more of an intermediate class, and before beginning it, I’d recommend getting a base level of fitness. If you don’t feel you have this, you could try jogging around the block, just to get your body used to recovery after exercise, because re-paying that oxygen debt is what Metafit’s all about.

3. SPIN

So, at this point, I was doing two classes a week at the gym near work and thought I’d mix it up a little by doing one at Energy Mill where I work out a few nights a week. I was slightly spoilt for choice by the number of classes available, but a friend recommended trying a Spinning class. In on respect, I’m grateful to this friend… In another, I’m questioning their friendship. SPIN IS DIFFICULT. It will really test you, both physically and mentally. Essentially, it’s a high intensity cycling workout (on a stationary bike, may I add) where you follow the instructor, pedaling against varying degrees of resistance. To alter the resistance you turn a knob on the bike, so you really do have to mentally tough in order to keep the resistance at a point where you are giving your all. There’s been many times, sat on that bike, where I’ve been SO tempted to turn the resistance down when climbing that figurative hill. But no pain, no gain. You must resist that temptation with all of your will. It is an amazing workout and I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much. I really like the feeling of being part of a ‘team’ during Spin; fighting against that resistance together, compared to my other two classes which feel a little more individualistic. To me, Spin honestly can feel as much like a spiritual practice as it can fitness.

So, there you are, 3 gym classes you should try. At the moment, I’m really enjoying these 3, and I think they complement each other nicely. I’ll be sure to update you with any new classes I undertake 😉 Comment below with any classes I should try 🙂

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Peace.

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my dad, the artist

and lover of beanie hats…

To my knowledge, my Dad expressed himself through the medium of art from an early age. Upon finishing school, he went on to study a Fine Art degree at the University of Reading, and afterwards became a college art teacher. He then, as many artists do, got a “proper job“.

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This was when he entered the world of housing, full time, and project managed numerous housing developments over the North of England. At some point during this 30 year period, he stopped producing art. The reasons for this will have been absolutely valid; having to raise 3 boys, whilst holding down a full time job, with a bugger of a commute doesn’t leave much time to “sketch”.

However over the last couple of years, and especially in recent months, the creative fire within him has definitely been relit… He can now spend hours sketching, and this seems to be purely for the love of doing it.

This, for me, is extremely inspiring because my Dad does not sit down for hours-on-end for ego gratification, nor to be lauded by his peers, nor to be super “successful” in the monetary sense, but for passion of the doing itself. The process rather than the result.

Process oriented instead of Result oriented

This is so important and transfers, in my opinion, to loads of areas of life. For instance, at work, you may have to complete a report or a presentation. You will enjoy doing the work, and the result/outcome will be better, if you focus on the process of it. IF you enjoy every little word that you write or speak, ironically the result will be much better, than if you focus on “OMG, how will this look when I’ve finished?!” Instead it is one-word-after-the-other, which allows you to get out of your own way.

Another example that’s very relevant to my current life situation is process orientation at the gym. I’ve been working out for years now, however, it’s only recently that I’ve started going to gym classes. One of those classes is spin. I’d highly recommend it for physical and mental fitness – every time I do it I feel as though I enter another realm –  almost like an outer body experience because of the amount of energetic exertion it requires. Therefore, the ONLY reason I keep on returning to the class is because of process orientation. During the class, if I keep on thinking “F*ck, when the f*ck is this going to end?!” (other spinners WILL relate to this thought) it actually increases my fatigue. So, instead, I have to focus on the process. One-pedal-after-the-other.

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The reigniting of my Dad’s creative fire could have happened for a plethora of reasons; maybe it is he simply now has more free time; maybe it has come with age or wisdom; but overall I feel as though now there is no concern about having to make a living through his art by selling it (i.e. result oriented), he seems to be enjoying it more than ever.

I’m not entirely sure whether he ever wanted to become a professional artist. But then, that doesn’t matter. Art is his passion, whether he is making money from it or not, does not define its success. The success, enjoyment & fulfillment come in the process and act of doing the thing itself.

More of a personal post this time, so thanks for sticking with me through it 🙂

Peace.

A

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All images taken on an iPhone by Alex Pegg

 

street style: @georgelancaster

I’ve known my good friend, George, since we were 3 or 4 years old, and we’ve been through many fads and fashions together. Some of the more memorable ones include rocking a shaved head at the same time; wearing huge, baggy jeans for no apparent reason in the early noughties; and even wearing full footy kits (when we weren’t playing football).

Anyway, I’d like to think we’ve evolved somewhat (not sure) and now share a taste for classic sartorial elegance. I’m half joking.

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Image taken by Callie Lancaster

What I admired first about this outfit is its layering. As you know, I love a layered look, but it’s not always easy to pull off; oftentimes people aren’t sure how to mix colour and texture. Not George. The blue & grey tones which dominate the outfit allow for the autumnal pop of colour from the mohair jumper, which adds texture and really completes the look.

I’ve talked before of my long-term struggle with trainers, but I think George has nailed the ability to pull them off. Firstly, if you’re going to wear white trainers, KEEP IT CLEAN. This is part of the reason I tend to avoid them, because there is a certain amount of upkeep required to maintain their shine. As you can see, George’s Stan Smith’s are spotless, which means they retain their cool.  Secondly (unlike our younger selves) he’s made sure his jean is just touching the top of his trainers, rather than covering them. Another great sartorial tweak George has employed is folding up his jeans bottom hem just once, as to create a distinct line between the trainers and jeans.

Finally, George has inspired me to try out a fur-lined hooded parka. His is really well-fitted, and that’s crucial in my opinion, so I’ll start my search now. It may even feature in the second edition of my top winter coats, who knows

Thanks for reading.

Peace.

A

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what to wear wednesdays

This Wednesday I’m wearing a suit. A skinny suit. A skinny, navy suit. I’ve had this suit for like four years now, and it’s made an appearance at many occasions including my graduation, a few weddings and even job interviews. This is a good reason to save for, and then invest in a decent quality suit, as you will get the value back. This particular suit is from Marks and Spencer. I would recommend M&S for the quality of their fabrics, but less so the fit, although to my knowledge they have been working on this and are offering slimmer fits for the younger market. I decided to get this suit altered at Stitches in Leeds, who are awesome at understanding and providing exactly the fit you want, in super quick time, for a v reasonable price.

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I’ve teamed the suit with a soft pink polo shirt from Topman, which complement each other nicely. Obviously this gives a more casual feel to the outfit, so I’d recommend wearing it to a not-too-formal event, such as your mate’s birthday party. I’ve opted for no socks, which works okay due to the informal feel of the suit, plus the pink tones of my ankles match the polo shirt well 😉

Cheers for checking this WTWW post out! See you next week.

Peace.

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Other pieces worn in shoot: Dr Marten’s shoes

All images taken on an iPhone by Angela Pegg

street style: @zestyosy

I met Emmanuel in Sheffield, the night before New Year’s Eve. Firstly his smart, even formal style, drew my attention. The pinstriped shirt is a classic piece, but is a little less popular at the moment; with louder, embroidered shirts more on trend.

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Emmanuel has subtly, but crucially, matched the pinstripe colour to that of his tie which means the outfit flows well, and isn’t too clashy on the eye. As you guys know, I love simplicity in an outfit, and the understated feel of his shirt means the cuff links work so well when suavely bringing together the formal, double cuffs.

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Finally, Emmanuel’s tie bar completes the outfit nicely. The functional use of a tie bar is to pin the tie to your shirt, uniting the two and keeping it all in place, but it also adds another touch of bling, perfect around the festive period.

Thanks for checking this street style post out; I have more lined up for the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled 😉

Peace.

A

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All images taken on an iPhone by Alex Pegg

street style: @dalecoop94

Incoming: a v. serious fashion outfit review 😉

I met Dale on a night out in Sheffield. I immediately noticed the statement jacket, and had to get a shot of him. Shearling jackets are on trend at the moment, so walking down the high street, you’ll spot at least one every couple of minutes. However, normally the shearling is just on the collar of the coat, and the rest of the coat is leather. This is why I was drawn to Dale’s coat, which has black, glistening faux fur all over the coat.

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This brings me nicely on to Dale’s mesmerising monochrome tones, which are a perfect complement to the big, statement coat.

Style Tip:- If you are going to wear a statement garment, such as a big coat or loud print jumper, I’d recommend trying to offset it by using neutral colours in the rest of the outfit.

His grey skinny jeans run down into a black suede pair of chelsea boots. I think he’s nailed the bottom half of the outfit because, in my opinion, chelsea boots only work when worn with tight-around-the-ankle trousers.

As always, thanks for reading guys!

Peace.

A

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Images taken on an iPhone by Alex Pegg

 

coconut oil helps my eczema

Since being a baby, I’ve suffered with eczema. Over the years it’s flared up all over my body for a number of different reasons, including stress; excessive drinking; poor diet in general and cold weather.

Recently eczema became prevalent on my scalp. Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to moisturising after showering every day in order to stop it flaring up, but scalp eczema is much more difficult to treat. It is a different beast. Applying creams, lotions & potions to a full head of hair is at best hilarious, and at worst, extremely problematic. So, I experimented with lots of methods (stopped washing my hair for a bit :/) to treat my scalp, but to no avail!

Then I stumbled upon coconut oil… I’d been hearing lots of things about this super-power-ful oil and all its benefits (think Popeye and spinach) over the past few years, and couldn’t help but think it was yet another marketing (says me, I know) ploy to create a trend and charge 10x the price for it. Nonetheless, I was at my wits end. My scalp had become extremely dry, and the dandruff was creating a lovely Christmassy look on my shoulders.

So I quietened the cynic in me, stopped splitting hairs, and went for it.

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John Travolta as Danny Zuko in Grease, 1978

Unless you’re going for a Greased lightening look (he looks cool AF tbf), I might not recommend leaving the house after applying this bad boy to your scalp. Plus, always wear a towel around your shoulders as not to ruin your favourite carpet… This stuff will begin dripping all over the place.

To my ecstatic surprise, coconut oil worked wonders for my scalp.  It felt so hydrating, and within a few uses the eczema had fully cleared up. This was a great confidence booster – I was really appreciative of the recommendation – so I thought I’d share with you guys, just in case I could help anybody else in need. And on that note, for any scalp eczema sufferers out there, I’d also recommend trying T/Gel shampoo in conjunction with coconut oil for maximum effect.

The amazing thing about coconut oil is how multi-purpose it is. It can help with your health, hair and skin, and you can also cook with it. Find some proper coconut oil uses and benefits here. In terms of picking a bottle up for yourself, you can find it for under a tenner at most major drug stores including Holland & Barrett, or I’d suggest heading to an independent health food shop which should stock it.

Disclaimer: I’d like to reiterate there are many different types of eczema and different types of sufferer; what works for me, may not for you. However I would, nonetheless, encourage you to try as many alternative treatments as possible until you find what helps you most 🙂

Thanks for checking this post out, slightly different from the norm, so I appreciate you sticking with me through it.

Peace.

A

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Feature image taken on an iPhone by Alex Pegg

 

what to wear wednesdays

Hi Guys! This Wednesday I’ve focussed my outfit around my favourite blue denim shirt from COS. I received this as a gift for my birthday a few years ago, and it quickly became a regular go-to staple in my wardrobe. COS is a little bit pricey, but I’d recommend it for finding good quality basics such as plain tees and shirts that should def last a number of years.

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The temperature’s dropped again in Shipley, so I’ve opted for a layered look. The contrast between the sandy yellow cord jacket and blue shirt remind me of a beach in summer time, and make me feel at least a tad warmer. I picked up the cord jacket in Urban Outfitters; it isn’t the warmest, but adds a pop of colour, and allows me to pop a collar, which I gotta do in the winter months.

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The blazer-come-coat is vintage, and creates a great silhouette with its padded shoulders, giving the impression of broad shoulders even if mine aren’t the broadest 😉

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As always, thanks for reading.

Peace.

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Other pieces worn in shoot: Blue chinos from Next / Clarks Originals shoes

All images taken on an iPhone by Charlotte L Owen

what to wear wednesdays

This Wednesday it’s back to normality for me – sporting a smarter look. I love my new shirt from ASOS; perfect for the festive season. Burgundy’s a great celebratory colour, and the polka dots add that little something extra, which needs to happen to stand out at Christmas time!

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I’ve had this classic Levi’s denim jacket for a number of years now, and still find myself wearing it so often, it’s just so versatile. A must for any man’s wardrobe, and it doesn’t need to be Levi’sTopman and ASOS stock v similar, budget alternatives. When I bought it, it was actually bleached blue denim (think 90’s boyband 🙄), so I picked up some velvet black dye and got to work! (Jk, threw it in the washing machine with the dye and voila!!)

Style Tip:- Love the fit and style of a garment, but can’t stand the colour? Check out fabric dyes as a way to help this. Generally only an option if you are willing to change it to a darker colour.

man standing buttoning denim jacket

Since it’s winter, I’ve had to top the outfit off with an overcoat. One of my faves in fact. This one is by Farah, and flows with a pair of jeans and trainers, just as well as with suit pants and smart shoes.

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As always, thanks for reading.

Pls comment below for any style advice, or to let me know if you’d style this outfit any differently! 🙂

Peace.

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All images taken on an iPhone by Charlotte L Owen