STAY FIT. STAY CHIC. (THE BUDGET FRIENDLY EDITION)
I've been thinking about doing a fitness story for quite a while now. For some reason, it took me ages to finally do it, but as with all things in life, everything happens at the right moment. I can't imagine a better place to do it now, than the beach here in Aberdeen. I also can't imagine a better person to work with on this project than my friend Liana Mitrea. (You will hopefully remember who I am talking about from this post) These are probably some of my all time favourite photos from this blog. She totally captured my vision and I couldn't be happier with the result!
Now let's get down to business, shall we? These are my personal ways of staying in shape, without ever hitting the gym:
No doubt about it, I love running more than anything. In almost 4 years since I've started running regularly and using the Nike Running app, I've run 1171 km in 206 total runs.
Ironically enough, I've started running outdoors in the worst weather conditions possible, when I used to live in Denmark, experiencing dreadful snow and wind. However, having the right gear is the secret. Since you are saving money on gym subscriptions, do invest in proper running clothes and shoes.
The quintessential item, besides proper running shoes, is a neck warmer which you can cover your mouth and nose with to help you catch your breath when the temperatures are really low. Since I've mostly lived in cold weather places, I had to adapt my sports wardrobe accordingly.
I wish I could afford buying only expensive running gear, but practicality comes first and one of my favourite places to shop when I am home in Romania, is actually Decathlon. I am in love with the French brands Kalenji and Quechua. I admit though, that when it comes to trainers, I stay true to my Nike Lunarglides. They offer me the best support and cushioning. I always save up to spend good money on a proper pair of running shoes.
Extra tip: To get the best results from running and challenge yourself a bit more, include sprints and strength training in your workout. I always end my runs with a squats and lounges session.
2. YOU MAKE YOUR GYM
Personally, not going to the gym is not necessarily a money-saving decision. I simply LOVE doing sports outside, in nature. I love using my creativity to challenge my body. Rocks are a great way to amplify your fitness results. Imitate a hardcore climbing session, do some jumping squats while challenging your balance or get into some triceps dips. When I workout in parks, I use benches or even trees to make my exercises more challenging.
My second favourite cardio routine involves a jump rope. This exercise reminds me of childhood but is also more effective than running as it works the entire body at the same time. I also like to challenge myself by learning new skipping techniques like double-unders or criss crosses. As with running, you can always change the intensity of the workout through the speed of your jumps. Add some squats and lounges in between jumps to actively rest and catch your breath while toning. Alternating two types of moves actually helps my physical resistance.
A good way to recover your body and train your core and legs for better running is definitely yoga. I never do sit-ups to work my stomach. The only things I do are head-stands, forearm & hand-stands (these two still against a wall) and planks. Ever since I can remember, I've never had problems with keeping a flat stomach. I can get abs in one week if I set my mind on it (that would involve some diet changes that I don't have to do right now, but probably closer to summer I will). My thighs and bum on the other hand, are a different story. I definitely need to put more work into those muscle groups to keep fat away. Yoga however helps with any type of body issues as the static poses fry fat while toning some really deep muscles in your body. Have you ever tried yoga?
Your body needs rest and you need to respect that. Be kind to yourself and take a moment to breathe and admire the scenery around you. Smile and be grateful!
Stretching is an important part of my life. If there's one day I don't do any type of exercise, there's surely none when I go to bed without stretching. Recently, I've also added a foam roller to my home-based therapy routine. Foam rolling is probably one of the most painful things I've experienced in my life but it's definitely worth it. Your body feels amazing afterwards and combining it with a good stretching session helps you lengthen the muscles and even get rid of cellulite.
7. ENJOY IT !
Ultimately, doing sports outdoors gives you so much more freedom. You feel less restricted in your movements and you don't have to care about anyone watching. Plus, you can breathe fresh air and listen to music even without your headphones ( I often do that when I skip in the park haha ) Getting some friends to join you will make your experience even better. I personally prefer to do it alone, but I also enjoy some company. When I lived in Amsterdam I once took a boxing lesson in the park with one of my closest friends and it was epic! The Dutch also have a great habit of literally taking the gym machines in the park. You don't have to do that though. Just use your own body weight and challenge yourself !
8. LIQUID FUEL
You can live longer without food than without water. You also don't do any good to your skin, hair and overall well-being by avoiding water. I personally drink one glass of warm water with lemon every single morning. And I mean it. Even when I travel I make sure I pack a lemon with me in case I don't have time to go to a supermarket until the next morning. Call me crazy. It just helps me wake up and feel fresh every day. It's also good to kick start my digestion and prepare my stomach for solid food. After running, I always drink water before preparing my meal. I don't keep count of the liters of water I get into my system on a daily basis but it's surely a lot. Apart from water I am also addicted to tea. The only thing I don't drink? Alcohol..Although once in a while I allow myself a bit of red wine or a gin & tonic...or tequila ?!
Finally, just STAY STRONG. My body has gone through so many changes throughout the years and I finally feel I found the balance that keeps me full of energy. I learned to accept that I will never have a perfect model figure, but I would rather stay athletic and healthy. I hope you enjoyed this long fitness post and keep in mind, these are just some of my personal habits. Under no circumstances should you take them as absolutely applicable to your own body. It's just a matter of trying things out to see what suits you best.
I would love to write another post about food as well, so let me know on Twitter ( @saracst ) if you are interested in that!
I was wearing:
Nike Lunarglide 6 trainers
Puma sports bra
ZARA mesh top