Are you ready for a new challenge?

I've been a bit ill recently (Who, me? What a shock!) and have fallen out of love with the gym. So, I've been looking for a new challenge to get myself motivated. I really hate the rigid and unrealistic diet plans that come alongside many exercise plans though... So when GymCube contacted me and offered me their #GCLifestyle Guide and one of their exercise plans I was all over it.

GymCube Diet and Exercise Plans

There are 3 plans available: Extreme Weight Loss (lose up to 1 stone in 30 days), Slim & Tone (drop a dress size in 6 weeks), and Strengthen & Define (for those wanting the take their body to the next level). Because I'm wanting to really push myself and my results - I've chosen to do the Strengthen & Define plan.

The lifestyle guide is the perfect thing for gym newbies, or those wanting to refresh their knowledge, and is full of simple but effective explanations of the importance of different food groups, different exercise methods and how you can live a balanced life! This makes the plan so easy to fit into your life... Also, it comes with loads of healthy meal recipes, which had me seriously salivating. I can't wait to try some of them!

But, the best thing about the GymCube plans is the amount of support you get. Since signing up last week, I've already received an email from Coach Kev to check on how I'm finding things so far! Kev is the founder of GymCube and has been a fitness instructor for over 10 years and a Reebok Master Trainer since 2013 - so he really knows his stuff. As well as being available via email, Kev is also available at certain times via live chat... If you don't feel that's enough support, then there's also a whole online community, live online classes and over 600 exercise videos.  I've been on the site a week and don't think I've even scratched the surface.

I'm going to be documenting my journey via Instagram Stories, Twitter and of course a couple posts on here so make sure you follow me on social media: @alihemsley - and let me know in the comments if there's anything in particular you want to see!

I'd love you to join me on the #GCLifestyle - so please do click here and you can receive £30 off and 12 months free access to the website and online coaching! (And, there's even a 30 day money back guarantee!)

 

*This page contains affiliate links.

 

Show someone you care with Postboxed!

I recently received a lovely box in the post from PostBoxed - and HAD to share this fab idea with you... 

Originally created to help busy professionals who came home to the dreaded 'Sorry we missed you' delivery notes, PostBoxed has a wide range of gifts for every occasion...and they all fit through the letterbox! This really got me thinking about life with chronic illness and how I used to always miss deliveries - not because I wasn't home, but because I was asleep or too slow to get to the door! Postboxed means no more worrying about trips to the delivery office and no more waiting to receive your gifts!

I was so surprised with how beautiful the packaging was - clearly, a lot of time goes into making these gifts special. I received the "Monster Hug in a matchbox", the "Notes of a Lovely Person" notebook and a bar of Raspberry and Vanilla White Chocolate. I couldn't believe the amount that they'd manage to fit into a matchbox, and have fallen in love with this idea of 'matchbox' gifts.. There's a whole range of them on the website so I'm thinking about ordering some for Christmas stockings!! (Also, the chocolate was amazing - I definitely recommend!)

Not only would this be great for busy professionals, it's also a fab idea for those who are ill, elderly or struggle with mobility! Make sure you head over to PostBoxed to see the full range of boxes and gifts that they have available.

 

*Postboxed kindly sent me a box to try. All opinions are my own.

#SquatSquad Results (AKA all the booty gains!)

As you guys know from my previous posts - here and here - I've spent the summer working my lil peach off with the help of the Squat Magic. It's now time for the results!

Glute / Booty progress!

Glute / Booty progress!

So, what was the Squat Magic designed to do?
"Squat Magic is the revolutionary new strength and toning machine that helps you squat with ease. Utilising the calorie-burning and booty-sculpting power of the squat, its patent-pending Squat Assistive Technology (S.A.T) guides you on the way down and gently assists you on the way up, helping you perform a textbook squat every time. All with virtually no strain on your knees! In fact, a Squat Magic squat puts up to 30kg less strain on your joints but still gives you all the amazing benefits!" 

 

My results!

Slimmer, more toned thighs!

Slimmer, more toned thighs!

  • Booty is more rounded and toned.
     
  • Less ankle and knee pain due to the increasing the movement of the joints.
     
  • More toned thighs!
     
  • Increased 'hour-glass' shape.
     
  • Improved squat form and confidence.

 

 

 

In my opinion, this last one is KEY. I now feel more confident in my ability to squat correctly and effectively - despite having knee and ankle problems. I've incorporated my new squatting skills into my gym workouts and am adding dumbbells / squatting on a bosu ball for added intensity!

 

Overall, I'm really impressed with the Squat Magic and the confidence it's given me - with my body and my form. It really does take the strain off your joints to allow you to correct your technique, but works your muscles all the same. I definitely recommend as a transitional piece of equipment to build confidence before squatting at the gym. My favourite part is that you can do it whilst binge watching Netflix - so it's really easy to incorporate into your daily life! (Or it was mine!)

 

*This post was sponsored by High Street TV. All opinions are my own.

How a watch is improving my self care routine

Here's something you may not have noticed about me: I rarely wear a watch. But lately, time has felt like it's flying by... so when JORD Watches reached out to me, I couldn't wait to collaborate with them! Their range of hand crafted all-natural wooden watches for men and women are truly beautiful and choosing one was a tough decision.

I opted for the Frankie - Koa & Ash as I love the ash face and unisex style. The watch was gorgeous enough already, but I decided to make the most of their engraving service and to have a hidden message put on... A reminder to myself: "Make time."

Life can be crazy, and you can often forget to enjoy the little things. Looking at this watch, and thinking about the time that's gone into making it, reminds me to make the moments count and make time to do the things I love... I've been spending some me time lighting a candle and rereading one of my favourite books, or enjoying the view from my balcony with a cup of green tea.

As for the actual watch - wow! I couldn't believe the high quality of the packaging and the attention to detail. These watches really are something special. The wood I chose, Koa, is native to Hawaii - a place I've never been but would love to go. I definitely think I'll have to take my own advice and make time to travel! 

I'm very excited to announce that I'm collaborating with JORD Watches for a giveaway! Click here to be in with the chance of winning a $100 Gift Code (and all runners up will receive a $25 Gift Code!) 

I absolutely love this watch and everything JORD stands for - creativity, uniqueness and sustainability. (Oops, I almost went a bit Ru Paul there guys!) Let me know what you think in the comments!

*JORD Watches kindly sent me this watch. All opinions are my own.

How many different foods do you eat in a week?

Did you know that eating 10 different foods provides your body with approximately 300 different bacteria? No, neither did I! 

I was challenged by Taymount Clinic to eat 50 different foods in 7 days - which equates to 1500 different bacteria. Why? Because they believe that the key to a happy gut is diverse bacteria! 

Gut health has never seemed that important to me, but over the past few years it's something I've been considering more. I'm not a big fan of supplements but I'm now trying a few out (blog post on them to come soon!) and I'm trying to be more conscious of what I put into my body. 

I don't want to cut out carbs or count calories - but I do want to make positive changes by eating a more varied diet. As you know, I love food, but you probably didn't know that I've had 2 stomach ulcers in the past 2 years! They each lasted over 4 months (horrible!!) and I had to be very careful of what food I was eating. I wasn't allowed anything acidic (aka no fruit!) or spicy and I'm still not allowed to take Ibuprofen, which really sucks sometimes.

Anyway, that's why I loved this challenge so much. I was actually being rewarded by eating food!

They sent me a super handy food chart and I filled in a square each time I ate a different food. Herbs and spices count as separate squares but wheat products (bread, bagels, pizza bases) just count as one.

For me, a varied breakfast would need to be implemented to hit higher numbers, but I love having my porridge and don't want to change that!  Actualy, the hardest part was getting a variety of protein, as this is often the bulk of my dinner and I'm a big chicken fan. After a bit of planning I managed to fix this and so I found the challenge quite easy (and definitely fun). In six days I had reached 49 different foods, so decided to head to a Chinese buffet on the seventh day to make sure I hit the 50 target. I finished on 62 different foods - and that's only using the ingredients I know for sure were in the food I was eating!

Would you do this challenge? How many foods do you think you eat in a week?