If you have been following me on Instagram, where I post-exercise videos and fitness tips on an almost daily basis, you would know that I am a proper gym rat. So when  #TeamAaptiv approached me to test their fun and convenient programs, I jumped at the chance for a much-needed change-up in my routine.

The training game can be a very lonely game, whilst most gyms offer umpteen number of classes, for me given my crazy schedule, it is not possible to attend those classes. Also, working out in a mirrored room packed with Spandex-clad people all trying to synchronise their moves to Ed Sheeran’s Shape of you, is something I would definitely pass.

Whilst I do not mind being the lone Wolf at the gym, I do admit that occasionally I need the motivation to give it my best, to keep going and just to learn new things. Enter Aaptiv, an audio-based fitness app that gives you a boutique fitness class right in your earbuds. Each “class” has a trainer who will take you through the programme and you can get the work out at a gym, home or outside with the touch of a button.

The Workouts—

Aaptiv Fitness Review

Aaptiv has a range of training programmes that you can try from outside running, strength training, HIIT, yoga to meditation. Each category has plans for beginners, intermediate and advanced level athletes (that’s you gym rat!). Each plan is colour coded for your convenience—green is for beginners, yellow is for intermediates and green is for advanced.

I also liked the fact that they have both 10-15 minute programmes and 30-60 programmes as well. As I said earlier, the app is designed to get you going and having even 15-minute programmes which pump your heart in no time is essential. As a busy mum, this feature is my personal favourite, sometimes despite your best intentions you just do not have time. So, getting even 10-15 minutes of work out can help immensely. I am a big believer that training/exercise is the best stress-buster and therapy hence I make a point to do something even if it is for 15 minutes.

My favourite, however, was their meditation playlist. After a busy and hectic day at work, where I am usually fighting fire and doing other awesome things, my mind (needless to say) goes on an overdrive mode. And most nights, instead of getting a good sleep I end up twisting and turning, with all the thoughts in the world coming at bedtime. And let me tell you from experience: stupid ideas come from a tired, unrested mind.

Meditation is proven to calm oneself down, clear the cobwebs in mind and energise you from within. Problem is…well, it is not easy to keep still and reflect…at least for me. I have been trying to make meditation a regular practice before sleep but always fail hence Aaptiv helped me immensely in achieving this goal.

Aaptiv Fitness Review

Aaptiv: a boon for new mums—

When I had just had my daughter, I found it extremely difficult to get any workout in for days (Getting grips on how to handle a baby, the tiny new person in your life is a challenging exercise in itself and there is no shame in accepting that). Aaptiv has a section designed especially for new mums—stroller workouts. Their stroller workouts are short (20-25 minutes), making it easier to squeeze one into a hectic day, and because they use the pushchair there is no need for a babysitter.

When my daughter was a baby, stroller workouts was something I did very regularly. Getting out, with your baby, even if it is 20 minutes helps both mum and baby immensely. We all know news mums risk getting postnatal anxiety and depression (i have been there) and it is important that new mums can get enough support to get this done in their new-changed lives.

In a nutshell—

Aaptiv, in a nutshell, is a great app to use if you are looking for motivation, new training programmes and new tips for fitness. My only criticism about the app is sometimes it is very difficult to understand a move when it is only told to you. Human beings like visual cues and if you are a beginner some of the instructions get lost in translation. But you can easily overcome this challenge by carefully listening to the instructions few times before fully understanding and executing it.  For £9.99 per month, you can become a member and access all the workouts without any limits. Unsure still about Aaptiv? You can try it for free with Aaptiv’s 7-day trial.

This post is sponsored by Aaptiv but opinions are my own.

Thank you for reading. Hope you liked the post. Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on InstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

In the last two years, ever since I re-started my fitness journey as a new mum, I learnt a lot of things that eventually helped me. In this post, I am going to share a few of those things, in the hope that some other mums out there would find it useful. I have already shared my meal preparation tricks and tips earlier. This post will focus on workouts more specifically home workouts.

One thing which still overwhelms is how to balance between cardio, weight-training and yoga whilst also handling everything else in life—home, family, work and blog.  I must admit I do fail a lot of times but planning ahead works.

Over the course of these two years, few programmes have immensely helped and these are:

Hiit workout

HIIT Workouts:

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval training. It is all about putting your body to maximum effort in minimum time. You can do it in the gym using treadmill and other cardio machines. Or you could do it with weights and you could also do it at home using no other equipment other than your body.

My favourite HIIT workouts are ones by Beachbody like Insanity Max by Shaun T and 21 day fix and 21 Day Fix EXTREME Essential Package by Autumn Calabrese (which I am following at the moment). Fitness Blender and Jillian Michaels are another favourites which will torch up those calories in no time.

Post baby exercises

Image credit: Pinterest

Cardio:

What really worked for me was combining different things. A good mix of cardio, strength and HIIT ensures that my body is always guessing what would come next and will always be on “work” mode. To be honest, cardio is my least favourite hence the challenge was to make it super fun. Enter Zumba (dancing). I thoroughly enjoy Fitness Marshall’s videos, Get Fit Janani and Vijay Tupurani (which you can watch on YouTube)for some Bollywood fun. I also love LesMills Body attack and body combat workouts. They are far cry from your usual cardio machines and oh so challenging.

postoartum core exercises

Image credit: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/standing-abs-workout

Strength Training:  

Weight or strength training is my favourite. However, I admit it was (and still gets) really overwhelming. Enter Bodybuilding website  another platform which I highly recommend. It has a plethora of programmes some by elite athletes and bodybuilders with succinct instruction videos and dietary guides. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate and advanced “athlete” you would find a wealth of information, programmes and plans suiting your needs and goals.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week🙂 Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee ~ Muhammad Ali

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am celebrating fitness and strength in my blog this month. When I re-started my fitness journey, post my baby, I had a really tough time sartorially speaking. As I have mentioned in this blog many times, the changes your body go through post pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding is more shocking than most of us realise (at least for most of the women, out there). Not only did any of my previous stuff fitted me but also I had lost all my confidence in myself. Internally, I had become so weak, that even walking with my 2.95 kg baby (birth weight) had become an herculean task for me. That’s when I decided to get my act together and really get fit. My goal since then remains the same: to be fit and strong (not skinny).

Of course, when you are trying to become physically, mentally and spiritually stronger at gym/outside, you need to do it in style. During my fitness journey, I have re-discovered fitness fashion and how to look cool whilst killing them with your strength.

 

Get the right material:

First thing first, do not underestimate the kind of material/fabric you use at gym. Whilst cotton is great outside personally I feel it is a no-no at gym (speaking from experience). Cotton absorbs sweat faster making you uncomfortable, sweaty and prone to chafing and irritation. Synthetic materials on the other hand repeal sweat faster, dry quickly and does not cling.

Choose the right sports bra: 

No prizes for guessing, investing in a good sports bra is a must. It has to support you and offer you flexibility.

Top: Red Herring (Debenhams) also like this one, Leggings: TK Maxx, Shoes: Adidas

Form fitting not baggy but not too tight:

When I re-started my fitness journey post baby, I would wear my husband’s baggy old T-shirts. I wanted to completely hide myself, needless to say it did little for my confidence and my form (whilst working out) while I stay away from to tight and clingy clothes, I also do not dress myself in baggy clothes. Form fitting clothes serve an important purpose: it helps you to see your muscles and curves as you exercise. Also, it helps you to feel good which in turn will help you to keep on exercising.

Layers:

Your workout wardrobe should be versatile, carrying you through from the hottest months to the coldest months. Build your gym wardrobe by choosing the right base layer—a moisture wicking dry layer such a vest or a t-shirt, add a warmer layer such as fleece pullover and finish with a protective outer layers such as a windbreaker. A handy tip: shop during off season for best deals.

Right clothes for right activity:

Keep in mind the activity you do the most. Baggy pants aren’t great for biking or strength training whilst for yoga you need roomy pants. Harem pants are my favourite. Generally speaking fitted ankle length leggings and a well fitted top would serve you well no matter what. Another handy tip—try out few signature workout moves in the dressing room to be absolutely sure.

Footwear:

Again no prizes for guessing, a good pair of footwear will serve you really, really well and keep you injury free that means no no to old worn out shoes. My rule of thumb is to wear shoes that support my feet and ankle well and I can walk as comfortably in them as possible.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week🙂 Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

If you have been following me on Instagram, you would know that I have dedicated this month to fitness and all the aspects related to it. After having my daughter, fitness has become even more important to me. Mind you, it is not about fitting into a certain size or thinking (wrongly) that it is all about starving oneself and being thin. For me, fitness means physical, mental and emotional strength. It makes you an overall better person. You can check the below pictures on how far I have come in a span of two years.

And if anyone tells you that you can become a small size overnight or drop 5,10, 15 kilos in a matter of days or weeks, they are clearly lying. There are also no shortcuts, it is determination, hard work and knowing what works for you.

black on black

Four months postpartum (2014)

The Athleisure trend

Present

When we are talking about fitness, how can we forget a very crucial aspect–food. I must also confess that I am a foodie through and through, so if anyone even mentions the word: dieting, I run  in the opposite direction. When I was younger, I rarely thought of things like meal preparation and organising. Today, this is an integral part of my days. My friends always ask me how I manage it all (at least seemingly)–home, toddler, work, blogging, fitness etc. Like many of ordinary women, I also DO NOT have an army of help in terms of nannies, cleaners, nutritionists, regular personal trainers etc. So, how do I do it? Two words: Meal preparation. Plus, I also have the wonderful hubby, the man of the house who goes from board room to kitchen to gym with ease.

Meal preparation tips

When anyone says meal-preparation, sad images of rice and bland chicken comes in mind. But it could not be far from truth. So, without further ado my handy tips are:

  1. Make a plan: I generally list out things/recipes for the whole week on a Friday and note it down. Noting it down is important because otherwise we tend to forget things and from get go things can go haywire. List out things you want to eat in the coming week. List out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
  2. Grocery shopping: List out the ingredients you want to buy from your meal list. Stick to this whilst grocery shopping. Also, try and go grocery shopping with full stomach, most of the time when I shop in empty stomach, I end up having the snack aisle in the kitchen.
  3. Think Macros: Your macros are carbs, protein and fat. Everything essential. Whilst planning out your recipes, try and get a good mix of these macros. Add condiments and spices to make it delicious.
  4. Snack Simple:When you’re cooking everything for the week at once, it’s important to keep things simple. Save time by choosing snacks that don’t require a lot of time. Think fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and pre-cut veggies with prepared hummus, nut butter with fruits, greek yogurt and smoothies.
  5. Take short cuts: Cut and keep veggies, marinate your protein and use the fridge/ freezer to store these ideas.
  6. Mix things up: No one likes routine, mixing things up is important to keep the momentum on and for your sanity.Plan on making two or three different dishes that you can alternate or mix-and-match throughout the week by adding different marinades/sauces, spices, different combinations/variations of the same thing you have prepared.
  7. Make ahead meals: Certain things can be made ahead and stored for a week. My favourite make ahead breakfast options are: overnight oats, bircher museli, egg muffins whilst favourite snack options are: fruits with greek yogurt/cottage cheese, homemade nut butter with bananas, protein bars and shakes.
  8. Relax: Do not think of meal preparation as a chore. If you feel that way take a break from the cycle, and get back to it when you are ready. It is important to understand that in fitness (and in life) you might fail but important thing is to get back at it without letting failure get onto you.

I hope these handy tips will help you get a better grip on fitness and allow you some time to yourself. Hey, it is not selfish. Often as women, we have been told that if we put ourself, our time and our wishes as a priority then we are being selfish. Let me tell you this: it is not. Heck, it is even important because happiness should be everyone’s right.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week🙂 Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Money talks, style doesn’t have to: Rue Lala

Victoria Beckham has done it. Jourdan Dunn has done it. And  so has Hadid sisters. I am of course talking about the athleisure look. The trend took baby steps way back in 2014 (remember my Sports Luxe maternity style post?), kept its head up in 2015, grew stronger in 2016 and now in 2017 does not seem to be dying out. Athleisure, as the name suggests, means combining athletic and leisure apparel that transitions seamlessly from gym to post workout plans and if carefully executed even work.

Obviously, this does mean you take your tatty t-shirt and short shorts and hop around the town. What it means is combining sporty elements to your everyday repertoire. It is about giving your unassuming athletic wear a certain je ne sais quoi charm.

Adidas and British designer Stella McCartney are often touted as the brainchild behind this trend because they had a long-term collaboration long before the term athleisure entered the fashion dictionary. It has grown stronger each year, partly because fitness has become a bigger and more democratic niche and if all the green juices recipes on Instagram and Beyonce’s Ivy Park are anything to go by, fitness is now a very fashionable topic.

The Athleisure trend

All this is very fine and dandy seen from the filters of Insta perfection but how does the athleisure look translate in real-life? I have been toying with this idea for long but every time I felt like styling this look million questions crossed my mind: I am NOT a young celebrity model, I am a mum, I am working mum with 1000 things on her mind, yes, I love fitness (and even burpees) but would I really want to walk around the town in my gym wear?

After a lot of thinking, brainstorming the idea with my friend, I decided like any trend athleisure is also all about personalising it. Whilst I do want to channel my “post workout zen/cool look”à la Gigi Hadid, I also feel the obsession with sweat-wicking leggings, bright sports-bra-cum-crop-tops and white sneakers is definitely not hot news. 

To give this trend, my signature feel I have paired my Adidas legging with lace-sleeve sweatshirt, I have added a statement silver necklace and dainty earrings to keep it simple but I have gone way out of my comfort zone with my make-up and hair—double bun and bold lipstick—to seal the deal. Lastly, I have added heels to give it some added oomph. My variation to keep this look strictly casual is to add sneakers, a varsity jacket and a colourful bag.

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

In the beginning, I have mentioned that this trend can used for work. How? Add a nice, dark blouse, delicate jewellery, blazer, ankle boots/heels and nude makeup to finish the look and voila from slaying that burped you are ready to crash that glass ceiling in one powerful move.

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

Last but not the least, do not forget the fearless girl stance because ultimately everything boils down to those two things—fearlessness and faith. 

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

Leggings: Adidas, Sweatshirt+Pink bag: Guess (similar), Trainers: Adidas, Heels: Next, Jewelery: Street shops India. 

Photos by @tsaiki

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week🙂 Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.