This past week, I’ve been contemplating why we do the crazy things we do. Why do we push ourselves to the limit, experience so much pain and frustration, and potentially risk failure?
We do it because we can.
Being able to take on challenges, try new things and ultimately reach the limits of what we think is possible? That’s a gift. And it’s a gift we often take for granted. The failures, the stumbling blocks, the anxieties and the grind- it comes with the territory, and we need to remember that. Whenever things go wrong (which they invariably do), it’s so easy to rally against the world, and get frustrated that things aren’t going our way. But the fact that we’re even able to attempt such feats is a testament to our privilege.
Big, hairy, audacious goals are one of the biggest luxuries out there, even if they don’t feel like it at the time.
What’s inspiring you right now? Do you have a challenge coming up?
Last week I shared with you my favourite healthy breakfast options for when I’m pressed for time, on the go, or just fancy treating myself. And now, we move on to lunch. Normally I bring a prepped lunch or bring the ingredients for a hearty salad, but sometimes (and more often than not right now) things are busy and I just can’t be bothered. Thankfully though, my little corner of London offers a fantastic range of nutritious options. So, the key things I look for in an on-the-go lunch option are:
Slow release carbs such as brown rice, wholewheat bread or beans
High protein content
Some decent healthy fats
Here are my top picks:
Itsu: Chicken n’ Brown Rice Miso
This is hands-down my favourite lunchtime treat, especially when I’m ill or doing a large volume of training- the slow release carbs from the brown rice keep my energy levels up, whilst the chicken gives me a nice boost of protein that keeps me full. Oh, and it tastes amazing too.
Pret: Smoky Chorizo Chicken Soup
I’m so in love with Pret soup that I know their Soup of the Day rotation by heart- a bit sad, I know. But this one is my favourite due to its high protein content and wonderful taste. You can also add a chunky bread roll if you fancy upping your carbs, or have one of their new smaller “side” portions with a sandwich.
Leon: Mini Chicken Meatballs
Great things often come in small packages, and this is no exception to the rule. I often have this when my body is really craving meat, and it’s just fantastic. I love that Leon offers smaller portion sizes of some of its classics, so you can treat yourself without heading for an afternoon food coma.
Abokado: Red Thai Chicken on Brown Rice
Another asian-inspired healthy choice- I really love the slow release carbs and high-protein content, plus the red thai sauce is gorgeously decadent but surprisingly healthy! I was frustrated when I checked the website for nutritional information and found that the only info available was total calorie and fat content. I like restaurants to be completely transparent when it comes to nutrition, so this isn’t ideal. However, it’s still a good healthy choice so I’m including it nonetheless.
Greggs: Mexican Chicken Sandwich
A bit of a curveball in this list of healthy options, but Greggs truly has been pulling it out of the bag recently with more balanced options. In particular I love this chicken sandwich on wholewheat bread, which definitely caters to those days when you just need carbs. It’s certainly a lot better than a sad supermarket prawn sarnie!
It’s so great that brands are increasingly looking to appeal to consumers’ health concerns- who’d have thought five years ago that Gregg’s could position itself as a balanced meal option? Given that eating healthily and nourishing my body well is one of my top priorities in life, I’m encouraged by what I’ve been seeing recently and can’t wait to see more of what’s to come!
I was lucky enough to get tickets to the OM Yoga show this weekend, courtesy of Tapped Birch Water. I already stalk them on social media as well as fangirling over their water, so I was absolutely thrilled to find out I had tickets!
So let’s get to it: OM Yoga Show is an expo and festival covering all things yoga, mindfulness and wellbeing. Based in Ally Pally, it’s a bit of a trek to get to for a South-Londoner like myself, but well worth the effort. There are products to try, open (free) yoga classes all day, and additional workshops you could sign up to in advance. And so I ate my body weight in free samples and did as much yoga as I could manage, but sadly did not get my aura photographed or my chakra cleansed! Here are some of the highlights:
This was my first open class, which I somehow stumbled into, and even managed to get a mat right at the front! It was a half-hour class taught by Leon London, and was a great introduction to Rocket Yoga, with a relaxed vibe and some challenging postures.
This has to be hands down one of the most bonkers classes I’ve done to date. Kathy was clearly inspired by her experience as a dancer for this vinyasa flow, with both club tunes and deep chill vibes playing over the sound system whilst we moved through an incredibly fast-paced yoga flow. It perhaps wouldn’t have been best for a beginner, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, myself included!
I signed up to this class on the advice of my friend, colleague and all-round fantastic yogi, so I had high expectations! Needless to say Marcus delivered, with a combination of challenging yoga poses and ujyayi breath, all tied together with the rebellious spirit and great sense of humour that Rocket is all about. Marcus’s past life as a DJ came into its own, as the music was paired to the ideal tempo of breathing- all you had to think about was breathing to the music.
I’m not going to lie, I was not prepared for my second Rocket class of the day, especially considering how many miles my legs still have in them from marathon training. I struggled with some of the more intense standing postures, as well as anything that required upper body strength. It’s a goal of mine to get stronger though, and that only happens when you challenge yourself.
We rounded off the class with a pranayama practice followed by meditation and savasanah. I really enjoyed the workshop, but I was completely knackered afterwards, and headed straight to the food tent for some gorgeous vegan eats.
After three yoga classes I was pretty much done, but somehow managed to have another wander around, buying more products I probably didn’t need. Whilst I absolutely loved the show, all the classes, and the positive vibes, it was still pretty hectic and by the end of the day I was craving some downtime to just chill, eat and drink some of the many tea samples I picked up! But it certainly reinvigorated my passion for yoga and the need to incorporate a regular practice into my life. How I’ll do that? Well the verdict is still out, but I’ll keep you posted!
Do you have a regular yoga practice? How do you incorporate it into your life?
I discovered Adriene Mishler whilst on the hunt for accessible yoga videos that I could do from the comfort of my own room. At the time I was living in a hotel in Mexico, and I wanted not only to get fit, but to find something to complement my running and soothe my frazzled nerves.
Yoga with Adriene was an absolute revelation to me. I was really captured by Adriene’s no-nonsense, approachable style and attitude to yoga-she is very playful and fun, and not too zen and soothing like so many other yogis you find out there. (Nothing against them, of course, but I’m not a particularly zen person, so I really struggle with the whole spa voice.
I undertook her 30 Days of Yoga challenge, which got me into a really great routine of doing yoga, and moving my body, at least once a day, every day. I even tried her Yoga for a Broken Heart sequence, which really soothed me and allowed me to let out some pent-up frustrations. No joke, I cried at the end. But in a cathartic way.
I don’t have so many facts and figures on Adriene, but I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite videos from her channel. If you have time, give one of them a go! We all know yoga is good for runners, but these videos tend to take a more holistic view, and can give you more complete strength, conditioning and suppleness.
Who’s your current woman crush? Please, as always, I’m keen to know!
Summer has always been my favourite season, and so when Autumn arrives it can be easy to feel despondent. Whilst social media gets excited for crisp leaves, warm jumpers and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I often struggle slightly- I think that’s the thing with the British Summer- blink and you’ll miss it. That’s why it can often be quite startling when Autumn comes around.
That being said, the colder months are generally much better for me than they used to be, and I think that has a lot to do with running all year-round. Spending more time in nature, getting that endorphin fix, and trying to run during the limited daylight hours- without any of this, I’d be lost. So whilst I’m not overly excited about the end of Summer, things are looking up. And here are the things I’m looking forward to:
Blanket scarves. These are basically a socially-acceptable blanket that you’ll always have to hand during the winter months. I can even get away with wrapping myself up in mine when I’m at the office.
Chai tea. I feel about chai tea the way many people feel about the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’m in love with it. Cannot get enough. I love super sweet chai tea when you’re stuck inside on a super grey and rainy day. Preferably wrapped in a big blanket scarf.
Bonfire Night! This is my favourite “holiday” of the year. We Brits snuggle up, watch fireworks and build huge bonfires, in commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot- an attack on the Houses of Parliament that was foiled at the last minute. It’s such a community event, and I absolutely adore it.
Crisp mornings. Whilst Autumn/Winter in the UK is generally grey and foggy, every once in a while we get a gorgeous crisp sunny morning. These are the best to be out running in.
So there you have it. I’m not 100% on board for the colder months, but I’m a damn sight more positive than I would have been this time two years ago!
What’s your favourite thing about the colder months? Please, give me tips on how to survive!