It’s almost 35 degrees out – uncomfortable & sweaty, but I’m not complaining; it serves as a great reminder of just how important it is to stay hydrated especially in heat like this. I normally drink about 2 litres of water a day (we lose 2.5 litres during the average day, regain 1 litre through food, and the remaining 1.5 litres is supposed to be your drinking water… but I like to build in some extra!). In these pictures shot in Saint Tropez, en-route to Pamplonne, it’s more like 3-4 litres a day – I literally got through 8 of these 50cl bottles in the 24 hours. Water must be the most important ingredient we can give our bodies, which are 60% water anyway – it’s critically involved in pretty much every bodily function we humans are capable of. It improves overall well-being and quality of life in so many ways and will certainly improve your ability to achieve your training goals.
Click MORE below to read my 8 reasons for staying optimally hydrated, and a couple of tips to spice up the bland taste 🙂
Time for some Fitness On Toast ‘ethos’ 🙂 … I’ve always believed that there should be very little difference in how men and women train themselves. Women, like most men, hope to achieve the same aesthetic end-point; a lean physique (drop body fat percentage and in so doing, ‘tone’/sculpt the musculature), as well as wanting to build strength, endurance, flexibility etc.
Why is it then, that so often I see women performing simpler, less effective (and perhaps less ‘intimidating’) exercises than men in the gym? Take the deadlift – a phenomenal compound exercise, yet 80%+ of the time men dominate the freeweight area with not a single woman in sight! Women should squat, dead lift, bench press, sweat and work hard! Go heavy and work to the maximum – THAT gets results much faster, which is of course the key reason we seek progress at the gym in the first place – to see results, and preferably quicker!
The popular misconception that ‘wafer-skinny’ is the ultimate reward for sacrificing hours on end at the gym, is misguided and unhealthy. That’s just so ’80s. These days ‘strong is the new sexy’; people want to FEEL strong and BE healthy, not just LOOK thin at the cost of feeling malnourished. That’s not to say we should all end up looking like Muscle Mary’s either, by the way, but it is far tougher for women to gain physical mass than for men.
Muscles constantly burn fat, which combined with a healthy diet, can help to yield the ‘lean’ look. However, female bodies have a different hormonal set-up. Men naturally have higher testosterone levels (a ‘muscle-building’ growth & repair hormone) and because women have significantly less of this, it’s harder for us to gain muscle mass. Those few women you may see in the gym who look huge have most likely worked incredibly long & hard for that look! So stop worrying about ‘bulking up’. You just wont wake up one morning and split your blouse sleeves because you lifted heavy weights the night before!
There are certain muscle groups (& therefore certain exercises) that women should probably de-emphasise, relative to men. The Trapezius (neck & surround) muscle is a good example – something most women don’t care to develop. Likewise, few mademoiselles want comically-pronounced quadriceps – but what woman doesn’t want a perky, round firm ass – which by the way, is the gift you get from almighty squats and thunderous dead lifts! Or toned arms and defined shoulders? So start benching, or keep lifting heavier – I don’t want to come across all feminist, but ‘Go take over the weights area, Bitches !!!‘
(click MORE below to see all the photos from my workout at the very well equipped gym in the Hotel Byblos, Saint Tropez).
As I mentioned in this post a couple of weeks ago, sport and fashion continue to converge. I discovered the next leg of that trend in this Notting Hill-based sportswear brand called Vevie. The two key things that seem to be changing are 1) the use of luxurious fabrics and 2) the attention to super-cute detailing.
Where previously I had to rely on a megabrand like Nike or Adidas for a pair of utilitarian (i.e. plain & boring) rough nylon tracksuit trousers, I can now spoil myself with breathable, moisture wicking fabrics which look and feel like satin. As in these pictures – which I shot in the harbour at the breathtaking ‘Beaulieu sur mer‘ (just by Cap Ferrat, on the Cote D’Azur) – the form of these clothes is perfectly fitted and feels as light as a feather to wear. The light plays wonderfully off the silky material. Also the subtle rouching on the chest, wrists and legs, combined with the elegant silver zip detailing, means I could actually wear it all day long, both for training and NOT for training! It’s a look that’s smart enough to feel good about everywhere, and is cute enough to fit in almost anywhere.
I think there’s plenty more to come from this brand; they make swimwear and more traditional training wear too, with some very unique and quirky design motifs. I’m looking forward to posting some more of Vevie’s finest soon, but in the meantime, you can see all the pics from this shoot by clicking MORE below…
Living in Britain, Wimbledon is of course a bit of an annual ‘religious event’ for me. But successive summers have been spent puzzled, watching Roger Federer strut onto centre court in what I call ‘haute sportswear’ – hyper-tailored lines, luxurious fabrics, exquisite detailing – whilst his female counterparts have sported nothing genuinely worthy to challenge for the Style Grand-slam. Filter that down from superstardom to the drab reality of the high streets, and there is no hint of an elegant sport trend to be found on Oxford Street!
But dressing sporty, and dressing chic are no longer mutually exclusive; I realise now that you can dress for exercise *glamorously*, in the same way you might feel dressing for a night out. The revolution has started with tennis, which has been injected with a vital shot of sport-chic by Monreal London, a high-end apparel brand that you might remember I stumbled across at the Queens Club boutique during the Aegon Championships earlier this year (you can see that post here).
I did some further digging and checked out their collection. Above all else, Monreal seems to worship the beauty of the female form, with materials and shapes that flatter and gently exaggerate our ‘good curves’. And they don’t just fake a token gesture towards fashion – they’ve clearly dedicated every feature to the cause. Before realising they’re a relatively young brand (not a bad thing; read ‘nimble, adaptive, on-trend’), you presume luxury from the outset. The look and feel is expensive, tailored, feminine and conservative whilst still being a bit adventurous and expressive. As you can see from these pictures we shot around Monaco, tennis whites are the base, but I really love the sparing and geometric use of colours and textures to break up the monotone whites (more of Monreal’s dresses to follow in future posts…)
In a world where I want to be able to feel a bit elegant when my sweaty body doesn’t look it, I think Monreal sends the message that ‘it IS possible!’ And given that it’s so aspirational and glamorous, I think it might help motivate people to work that little bit harder, so they fit that little bit better into their stylish sportswear, rather than just lazily shopping the next size shorts from Asda for £5. It all helps to buy into the lifestyle choice that this blog is ALL about. Click More below to see all the pics from the shoot…