#KISE4Years: Four Life Lessons That've Become Clearer

July 2016 marked 4 complete years of blogging (although my 5th actual year!) here on KISE! The time has flown by and I honestly wouldn't change anything! ...at the same time though, I've done a lot of growing, the blog has done a lot of growing and it seems things are constantly changing!

Photo Credit: Lolography

So in honour of my four year blogiverasry, I wanted to share four lessons that have taught me the most and where they have played a part in my blogging journey and life:

Lesson #1. Learning When To Say No 

I think this is one I've seen a lot of friends and bloggers struggle with - finding that balance and not over committing oneself to a host of activities. Saying no actually isn't easy to do but it's something I've been practicing! It also doesn't have to mean "the end"... you can say no to one opportunity but maybe present another way you would like to work together. Since becoming freelance (full time) I have to prioritise earning a living over attending events for the sake of it. Simple things, such as travel expenses add up so it's often appreciated if they are covered in order to attend events especially as I place a high value on my time.

Charlie recently wrote an interesting post about knowing your worth as a blogger after a chat we had and I couldn't agree more with her points. Every hour I spend travelling, being at an event, taking pictures and writing it up on the blog is time I could be earning money or at least creating opportunities to earn money rather than working for free. Having links placed on my blog, and getting your brand in front of the eyes of anyone who shares their time with me to read what I write is almost invaluable too. It does take strength to say no, but it certainly helps to take the pressure off at times.

Lesson #2. In A Year From Now, Will This Matter? 

This is a great question to ask yourself in those times that feel so bad. Once you realise that something may only seem dramatic / negative in the moment, yet 12 months later, you might not even remember it happened helps to put things into perspective. Will it matter 12 months from now that I didn't run a particular race? Will it matter that I didn't go to one event? Will it matter that I didn't blog my usual three days in a week??

Photo Credit: Lolography

Lesson #3. Doing What I Know I Must Not What I Know I Should 

Now this is the biggest one for me at the moment. It all got stirred up, and easier for me to understand when I read This Article and then This Book.

I learnt to make decisions based on what was going to get me closer to my goals rather than what society expected of me. When I was growing up (how old does that make me sound?!) it was still a given that you go to college after school, then university, then get a job, dream of moving out of home, progress in your career... you get the picture. But actually I have bigger aspirations than all of that and I don't wanna look back in years to come having to regret not following my passions or giving things a go!

Lesson #4. If You Don't Ask You Don't Get 

First of all, you have to be okay with being told no. Get comfortable with it, because, what does no really mean?! So then, if you want something, why don't you ask? Wanna collaborate with someone? Why don't you ask? I mean, you could sit around waiting for opportunities to land in your inbox or you can go out there and create the opportunity you're looking for. It's easy to sit back and watch other people seemingly succeed without having the slightest idea what they've put into creating their own success. And it's all completely your own choice.

Do you have a blog?! How long have you been blogging and what are the biggest lessons you have learnt?! 

Elle :) 

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Why Go to the Gym Instead of Working Out at Home 

We all know that with a little ingenuity and the assistance of YouTube, we can turn our living rooms into makeshift gyms. But while home gyms may be able to support casual exercisers they can only fulfil so many workout desires. When it comes down to it, home gyms are often missing some of the crucial aspects of a bona fide sports centre. Here are some of the things you may be missing out on at home:

A Personal Trainer

Going to the gym doesn’t always mean you have a personal trainer but it gives you the opportunity to have one. We all want a little feedback sometimes; questions answered, postures critiqued, or some serious motivation to reach goals. Walking through the doors of a gym means having access to a personal trainer who can help you form a plan to fit your needs. 

Aerobic Equipment

Running outdoors can be a great way to get out, exercise in the fresh air and even connect with nature, but jogging in your local area also has plenty of potential downsides. Weather, unsolicited interactions, darkness, temperature, and other factors can really hinder your drive to run up a sweat.

At a gym you’ll find a treadmill and other aerobic equipment. Knowing how fast you’re running and for how long, maybe even while watching your favourite TV show, allows you to get it done without worrying about external factors. The only restrictions you’ll run into are your own stamina and the gym’s closing time. 

Like-minded People

If you close your eyes and imagine yourself in your living room, what do you see yourself doing? In all likelihood you’ll probably see yourself in your favourite chair without a heart-pounding thought on your mind. With that association it can be difficult to switch gears and turn your place of leisure into a place of activity. 

A place designated for the sole purpose of working out can really help you get into the right mind-set. At your nearest sports centre or gym you’ll find people coming together for the single purpose of breaking a sweat. Being in such an environment can help motivate you to keep up, or at least train your thoughts to working up a sweat. Here your actions are validated through the actions of others.

It can be tough to motivate yourself if you’re doing planks right next to the kitchen, but when you’re with a tribe of like minded people, pushing yourself physically becomes your prime objective.

A Social Affair

Working out with your cat has never made anyone new friends (lol). After the days of University it can be difficult to form new friendships or relationships. People have crazy work schedules and families to attend to, and any number of other obligations that limit their free time.

The social atmosphere at a gym puts individuals with a shared interest together in the same room, and this shared interest can be a huge part of building friendships. And if you feel like you’re not seeing enough of your current friends, invite them to join the same gym. Wives and husbands are unlikely to be opposed to their partner joining a gym to stay healthy and fit, even if it is just an excuse to socialise, right?!

If you’re hesitant to commit to a certain gym membership, you can always test the waters with a temporary gym pass. Once you see what you’re missing you may just ditch your living room in favour of the gym floor.

So, workout at home?! Or do you head to the gym?!

Elle :) 

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What's Your Run Signature?

When it comes to running, I feel like we've all been schooled that there is a good way to run and there is a bad way to run. But much like everything else (like diet and exercise) maybe there is no one size fits all?! We are all different at the end of the day so why is it a surprise that maybe we should run the way our bodies have individually designed themselves to run?!

I'm lucky to have tried out an array of trainers over the years I've been working in fitness and when it came to running, I ended up relying on how I felt to determine if a shoe was for me or not. I could reel off a list of shoes that feel good to run in, but not great. And just recently, I got a deeper understanding of why that is when I visited Brooks to check out my 'Run Signature'.

Run Signature is a relatively new fitting method that utilises leading-edge technology to assess the way a runner’s body wants to run and then recommends the right shoe to fit. It challenges the traditional approach we're all used to as it's very much a more holistic and individual view, combining biomechanics and desired experience from your running shoe.

This all fits well with the more intuitive footwear categories that Brooks created to take into account running experiences and support. The new categories - Cushion, Energise, Connect and Speed - resonate with runners of all abilities making it easier for you to find a shoe that fits the biomechanics and experience of your run; and this doesn't just relate to Brooks running shoes themselves. The research behind this suggests that each and every one of us, no matter what level we run,  has our own unique way of running and by embracing our natural movement we can be more comfortable, efficient and happier.

Brooks recently took this concept out of the lab on their Run Signature Tour with a custom mobile app to analyse data from key motion zones of runners. It's as simple as completing a squat and short run,  from which the app identifies the degree of change as more force is applied to the body. The degree of motion signifies the level of support needed to keep the runner’s body in its preferred position.

My analysis suggested a neutral shoe for me which I was happy with. I spent years running in supportive shoes which as I mentioned before felt good, but not great. I eventually switched over to an Energise shoe (in the neutral category) after attending an event and literally fell in love with one particular shoe which then took me on to run my Half Marathon PB back at Brighton Half Marathon in February 2015.

Brooks Launch 3 (Energise, Neutral) Photo Credit: Lolography

If you're keen to see what your Run Signature is keep an eye out at your local running shop (or ask them to give Brooks a call?!) or at Brooks Sponsored Events.

If you're up for running with me, I'll be leading the new Winter Run Club from Shoreditch every Thursday evening! Check out my Facebook page for the weekly event information!

What difference does a running shoe make to you?! 

Elle :) 

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The Business of Fitness: What Does It Mean For The Consumer?

Off the back of last week's post on The Business of Fitness, we wanted to share with you some further trends and what it means for you, as a consumer, going forward.

We’re all a lot more clued up 
It’s no longer about being thin; it’s about being fit and healthy. ‘Strong Not Skinny’ is not just a hashtag. No longer are people who go to the gym first thing on a Saturday considered weird: Millennials (those born no earlier than the late 80’s) are more likely to spend their weekends around health-based activities. Think swapping a drunken Friday night followed by a crippling all-day Saturday hangover with a spinning class followed by a juice-bar meet up with friends and an early night as we’ve got yoga at 8am. We’re all about achingly fashionable gym gear: Sportsluxe and athleisure aren’t just made up fashion words. It’s totally acceptable to socialise straight from the gym in your ‘coming-from-a-workout’ workout clothes.

Gyms, not spas
Large, budget gyms with more equipment have replaced the ‘health spa’ fitness centres. The LA Fitness I was a member of in a fancy part of London has been replaced with a PureGym, costing less than HALF of my previous membership fee, and I’ve never been happier. The swimming pool, sauna and steam room (all huge costs for gyms from a profit/ loss perspective, and always practically empty) have been replaced by an entire floor dedicated to weights and S&C equipment. And it’s not full of Gym Douchebags… 

… Women are lifting. 
Let’s go back to ‘Strong Not Skinny’. No longer confined to the cardio area and the studio for classes, women have invaded the weights room. Kayla Itsines, Jen Selter, TwoBadBodies (Jennifer Forrester and Kaisa Keranen), Massy Arias and even Tammy Hembrow – I’m sure I’ve missed out your favourite so please post below and let us know who you follow and why – have inspired us to balance our previously cardio-heavy workouts with some weights to get the butts/ abs/ arms/ whatevers of our dreams (or their Instagram feeds). 

Now we know our way around a weight rack, and with online workout programmes available for under £30, no longer are we drawn to a gym because of fluffy towels and sauna. We want to work hard. 

Fitness Pick ‘n’ Mix
Budget gyms offer classes that tend to be – honestly – pretty rubbish. Classes at more high-end gyms such as Gymbox or Virgin tend to be better as the instructors are of a higher quality (they have to be to justify the membership fee). Most no-frills gyms don’t even offer classes. Why? Because we like to mix it up. We don’t like to be tied into a 12-month gym membership, and with many boutique gyms offering reasonable no-contract packages; we can afford the budget gym membership for gym workouts and then visit another studio for far superior yoga/ Pilates/ spinning/ barre classes. 

And then there’s ClassPass, whose entire marketing strategy is built around enticing us away from brand-loyalty (well, except to them, that is) and becoming Lycra-clad studio-hopping exercise-bunnies. “Fitness consumers are becoming more promiscuous”, says Ray Algar, author of a 2015 fitness industry report that identified the change in market. Algar calls it “de-coupling”.

Instagram happened 
Studios and gyms need to bear in mind that growth will only occur if the customer leaves class so jacked up on endorphins that they post about it on social media and tell their friends and colleagues how life-changing it was. 

Ray Algar’s report recommends that fitness businesses cash in on this. It’s hard to culture an experiential workout from traditional marketing and advertising campaigns. With the right blogger – or influencer – posting the right content, you’ve got your product slap bam in front of your next potential customers with the added benefit of it coming from a trusted and admired source. Case in point, how many of you have tried a workout or studio based on your favourite bloggers / friends report or endorsement of it? How many of you have stayed away from something for the same reason? Sponsored content should always be marked as what it is – advertising – but even paid-for posts have more influence than an ad on the side of a bus. 

Inspirational ownership 
We’re more attracted to organisations that seem to care. A boutique offering where the owner is not only visible, but is so bang on brand you actually want to be her (or him) is a ton more inspiring than a chain fronted by bored receptionists and stressed so-not-on-brand Duty Managers. 

Algar’s report features a case study on SoulCycle founded by Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler, who were dissatisfied with the spinning studios on offer, so they opened their own… And the rest is history. SoulCycle isn’t solely responsible for steering the fitness industry towards a boutique-style market, but it showed many people who’d dreamt of opening their own studio that it was possible without selling out to a chain (which they did eventually, to Equinox, but hey; no judgement. Fitness is business).  

In a lot of boutique studios, the owner teaches classes, takes part in classes and can often be found behind the reception desk. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, giving feedback to your gym was unheard of. Got a complaint? Call head office and be put on hold. In 2016, if we want the coffee bar in our Pilates studio to stock coconut milk (As if it wouldn’t already!), we can catch the owner after class or drop a note via Twitter.  

What are your thoughts on the fitness industry? What do you think will be the ‘next big thing’ ? How have your fitness habits changed over the last few years? 

I'd would love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below or tweet at @X_eLle_S


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All photos taken by Lolography


5 Fun Days Out That Will Give You A Workout!

Not everyone is interested in the latest museum exhibitions and sometimes we’d rather not spend our day off exploring yet another 400 year old building. If you are an avid reader of this blog no doubt you would occasionally prefer a weekend activity where you get your heart pumping, have some fun and keep fit at the same time. London is surprisingly well catered for active days out and there are a number of activities that could easily quality for a workout, but are so fun they really don’t feel like it (till the next day of course).

Photo Credit: Corey

Chelsea Clip’n Climb
You may have climbed before, but not like this. Chelsea Clip’n Climb is like a climbing wall on steroids. In fact the centre has over a dozen colourful, crazy climbing walls that are all over 30 feet high. Each wall provides a slightly different challenge and you must quickly learn how to climb each one. Should you get stuck you’ll be able to abseil down or let the safety harness glide you back to earth. There are also a range of added extras like a giant vertical slide and a ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Often filled with excitable children, there are adult only days if you would prefer to not be out-climbed by an 8 year old.

Oxygen Free Jumping Acton
Probably the most fun I’ve ever had in London, and also the biggest workout. Oxygen Free Jumping is a trampoline and free jumping park in a quiet corner of Acton, just a short walk from West Acton station. The two floors of giant trampolines and free jumping courses allow you to bounce and flip your way around the massive warehouse for an hour. After 10 minutes you’ll probably need a break, after an hour you will feel like you’re near death. Who knew trampolining was so exhausting, but also so utterly fun?! If you happen to live nearby they also do a weekly Oxygen Fitness session which would do absolute wonders for anyone’s fitness regime.

2020 Archery
Not the most exhausting of activities, but entertaining and still technically a sport. 2020 archery offers ‘have a go’ sessions that allow you to try out your archery skills in a welcoming and helpful environment. Even if you’ve never fired an arrow in your life it doesn’t matter, the tutors teach everyone the basics before letting you have a few practise sessions. At the end there is a small friendly competition and by this point you should at least be able to hit the board, if not score a bullseye. Whilst archery isn’t exhausting it does require a fair bit of upper body strength to really master, not to mention laser accuracy. 2020 archery is located in the Downside Centre a short walk from Bermondsey Station.

This is another climbing centre, but this time of a more professional nature. The centre is usually packed full of professional climbers and enthusiasts who recognise that climbing is a brilliant way to build strength and burn fat. Even if you rarely or never climb, Vauxwall hosts regular sessions for beginners were they will teach you the basics and let you climb at your own pace. The centre is absolutely huge and feels like a maze of climbing walls; some going up, to the side, over your head. Located almost opposite Vauxhall station, the centre is central and easy to find.

Velodrome Taster
If team GB’s performance at the Rio Olympics has shown us anything, it’s that us Brit’s love to cycle. Why not test your own abilities on the fastest cycling track in the world? The London Velopark, built for the 2012 Olympics, offers taster sessions to anyone who wants to try their hand at track cycling. Either bring your own bike or hire one, either way you’ll be zooming along the track that helped team GB achieve greatness. Anyone who cycles to work will tell you how cycling is great for fitness, well this is cycling on a whole other level. If after one session you find you love track cycling, the VeloPark offers a structured course that allows you to get accreditation to enter races; who knows, you could be booking a trip to Tokyo in under 4 years.


This post was written by Daniel; he's a London based writer who created Day Out in London to help people explore the best parts of the city. You can catch up with Daniel on Twitter too! 
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