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How to be present while exercising

I’ve always been an advocate for doing multiple things at once: whether working out while listening to podcasts or talking on the phone while cooking a delicious dinner – metaphorically killing two birds with one stone has long been the ultimate goal. But recent research has begun to make a compelling argument that these “productivity” habits could be ruining my overall happiness and indeed causing a destruction of said productivity. Say what?

On my way to the market on a beautiful Saturday morning, I was enjoying my walk while listening to a podcast: this one was on happiness. It began with Pharrell's infamous song, ‘Happy’, and featured a number of talented speakers in bite-sized interview. Before I knew it, my mind had quickly become distracted by all the textures, colours, smells and vibrancy – I picked up a broccoli and I was transfixed.

“… Mind-wandering can lead to anxiety and stress …”

I was starkly brought back to reality. What had I just missed in the podcast? Which broccoli do I want? Do I even want broccoli?

I tried to listen to the podcast while picking the best vegetables, but it all began to be too much: my mind-wandering had turned an enjoyable experience into a stressful one. I paused the podcast and took my headphones off. I was going to be present and enjoy the market in all its delight.

Have you experienced this before? Maybe you’ve been eating while scrolling through your phone. Are you able to enjoy the food that you’re eating? Or are you more interested in digesting the information that you’re consuming? What happens when you  slow down, and embrace both of the incredible experiences on their own?

We get it. We’ve become a much stronger and efficient species. Having your dream job is now no longer enough – you’ve also got to have a perfect diet, be a great runner, dancer, weight trainer, all of the above and more!

But let’s be honest: you don’t need to do all that. In fact, you don’t need to do anything.

Be yourself, and be present. Slow down and reflect on the activities that you do day-to-day – do you really enjoy them? If you do, fantastic! Continue to embrace them and do it all! If you don’t, that’s okay, too. Figure out if you really need to do these things and ask yourself, will being present help you enjoy it more?

How to be present

It’s all well and good to talk about being present and mindful, but what exactly does this entail?

“A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

In other words, mindfulness and being present is all about slowing down and thinking carefully about what you are actually doing, and trying to listen to that inner voice inside – taking control of your thoughts and your mind.  

With only a few spare minutes you can strengthen and practise mindfulness daily. Let’s do this together, right now:

  1. Close your eyes and to focus on your breathing.
  2. Breathe in and out, counting each breath and relaxing your body.
  3. Clear your mind and embrace this present state.
  4. When you find your mind wandering, go back to counting. Keep counting to ten, and start again until your mind is clear.
  5. Once you feel satisfied, open your eyes and thank your body, mind and soul for your first simple experience of mindfulness.

The next step we suggest is trying meditation.

For all of you Yogis out there, namaste.

Practising yoga focuses on your breath while stretching your muscles. Not a fan of the downward dog? Then you’ll love meditation apps such as Headspace, or our favourite, Smiling Mind (free on the app/android store). Smiling Mind guides you through various meditations and develops your practice through a number of short five-minute programs. You can even practise mindfulness while eating, taking in all the textures, smells and flavours when the food is in your mouth. This is a form of meditation, considering where the food came from, who nourished it and the adventure this food took to get into your hands. Reflecting on these simple experiences helps steady your mind, while also practising gratitude.

The next time you do exercise, don’t listen to any music. Even if you're dancing in the studio, let the music come from your mind, feel how your limbs want to move this way and that, be present, be bold, be in control and embrace every moment.
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How to get started again after a burn out

We all love that feeling of pure euphoria when you’ve accomplished a huge goal. Maybe it’s a bodybuilding competition or an intense dance performance – or it could be as simple as completing a 12-week training session. Either way, the benefits are endless as you emotionally and physically bask in the satisfaction of victory.

But what happens next?

You’ve conquered your goal, but what is the next stage? In order to take control of your life and the endless possibilities it offers, you need to be strategic and think about your next steps. Otherwise, you could welcome a burn out ...

Getting started after a burnout with Be Your

Last year, I completed my first full 42km marathon. I trained solidly for a year, running in the weekends and limiting myself to certain foods (which made eating out an anxious experience). I was on a mission; it encompassed my whole being and sense of purpose.

I hadn’t even considered what would happen after the marathon.

Because of this, I went from Hero to Zero. A few months later, I realised that I was suffering from burn out, and needed to get myself back on track.

Burn out is described by Help Guide as “a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress, constant stress, or a feeling of bring overwhelmed.”

When you’re over-stressed, you can still see the light at the end of the tunnel. But when you’re burnt out, the light is very dim, and the length of the tunnel continues to grow. In extreme cases you may even isolate yourself, struggle for your sense of purpose and ultimately find yourself on the road to depression. (If you, or any friends or family need urgent assistance with this please call Life Line Australia on 13 11 14)

Post-marathon, I’d blobbed out, developed unhealthy habits, and suddenly didn’t really like the people around me. I finally understood the importance of healthy habits and having a sense of purpose and gratitude. 

Will I run another marathon? Absolutely. Because on the whole journey, I’ll be checking in with myself, aligning with my sense of purpose and using these five pillars to a healthy, motivated life:

How to get started again after a burn out

1. Plan to succeed

Conquer your mission daily with strategic planning

What is your mission, who do you want to be known as, and what are you doing daily to achieve this?

One of my biggest trip-ups was not planning what to do post-marathon. Plans take time and constant change.

You may realise, for example, while training for a marathon that you’d actually prefer to do a triathlon. That’s perfect! While training for the marathon, I was so distracted about crossing the finish line, that I forgot to look at the bigger picture: a healthy lifestyle. Now, every Sunday I check in with myself and break down large tasks to spread them across the week.

Here are some amazing tips and even an app to help you with weekly planning and goal setting.

2.Self care and gratitude

Mindfulness Meditation

Tell yourself right now one thing that you are thankful for.

Self care and gratitude are imperative, and the relationship you have with yourself is the most important. Every morning and evening I take time practise gratitude and self-love. We are incredible, wonderful human beings, and it’s important to appreciate ourselves. Practising gratitude will will recharge and invigorate you, so that after conquering your goals you will have the energy to be thankful and embrace what follows next.

We love Smiling Mind, a free app to try Mindfulness Mediation - whether you have five minutes or an hour. And here is a simple guide to get started writing your own gratitude journal.

3.Diet

Nourishing from the inside

What is your relationship with food? Do you eat food that nourishes your body, or do you go for short-term highs?

I went from a restricted diet to an all-you-can-eat diet within days. It was pretty gross, and I know now that it was because I had an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead of nourishing and listening to my body, I ate with my eyes all of the sugar and junk within reach. Savouring and enjoying a variety of different foods will ensure a positive move here - and, no kidding, it actually does taste better!

Here is a great healthy eating plan - it's wonderfully balanced, too.

4.Exercise

Do what feels good!

How do you love to move?

Exercise comes in various forms and movements, and we are so thankful for this that it's the cornerstone of our clothing range! It’s great to mix yoga into some weight training with a little bit of running. Whatever your style is, it’s important to make sure you get at least thirty minutes a day. This will help you clear your mind and get your blood pumping!

Fitness Blender is a great resource of free, unlimited videos of exercises that you can do at home. And be sure to check out your community halls for any other free or discounted classes.

5.Socialise

Build a community and embrace new experiences

How to spend your spare time?

In order to incorporate balance, it’s important to regularly tap into your passion. If you love painting, take time out daily to practice this. If you’re unsure of your passion, take time to play with a new style, or do some knitting or writing

Most important of all, take some friends with you! Together you’ll enjoy exploring and finding out what you like, and don’t like …

Building this social community at the same time will help you support others while being supported in your goals.

Is there someone you haven’t spoken to in a while? Maybe now is the time to reach out!

Because we are all wonderfully unique, these are not hard and fast rules. Please, comment below on how you achieve your goals - how do you practise certain habits daily or reflect on your progress?

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How to find your unique yoga style and the matching outfit

Yoga is an incredibly diverse activity. There are several different styles, each of which incorporates a number of different poses and stretches. The main focus is on how you breathe –– something we can so often forget to do. We’re certain that no matter what style of yoga you choose, you’ll leave every session feeling stronger and clear headed.
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Sports Bras 101 Part III: Choosing the Right Bra for You

Sports Bras 101 Part III: Choosing the Right Bra for You

 

The secret to choosing the right sports bra for you is simple. Your goal is to protect your breasts and your upper body from injury during periods of exertion. This being the case, the best sports bra for you will be one which minimizes your breast movements and allows your breasts themselves to move and be carried with your torso.

Of course, you also want to be able to actually breathe while you exercise. In this case, never choose a design which compresses your chest area to the point where such compression becomes uncomfortable. In like regard, many women will sometimes find that one sports bra simply isn’t enough. Either one bra will only suit one particular form of exercise, or for alternatively, two bras worn at once might be necessary. 

The main thing is not to choose a sports bra simply because of how it looks. You need a bra which suits your body shape and ideally one which you will feel comfortable in everyday, not just during exercise periods.

 

Sports Bra Features to Consider When Buying

 

To make things easy, always consider the following when choosing a sports bra:

1.What level of support do you actually need? Consider your age. Consider what kind of exercise you plan on taking part in. Think about what bra size you are usually. Even more importantly, if you feel like you're not getting the support you need from one kind of bra, think about wearing two different bras simultaneously.

 

2.Now let's look at design features. Again, what kind of activity do you expect to be engaging in? If running or taking part in high-intensity cardiovascular exercise, do you need a sports bra which provides great moisture wicking? In like manner, is your bra supportive enough and are the straps in particular suitably padded for maximum comfort?

Just as importantly, always make sure that the underwire of a bra isn’t going to dig into your breast during exercise. The underwire of your bra absolutely has to fit your breast correctly. In fact, your underwire fitting correctly is just as important as your breast being completely covered and/or encapsulated. Finally then, always make sure also, that the front band of your sports bra sits snugly and directly over your chest bone.

 

3.Lastly, does your new sports bra actually fit correctly? Different fabrics will fit differently than others, even if officially one bra is the same size as the next. This being the case, try different bra shapes, colors, and fabrics. Meanwhile, remember also that your breast shape can change with both age and even during your menstrual cycle. In this case, don’t be afraid to measure your cup size in much the same way as if this was the first bra you were ever buying.

 

Aesthetics & Functionality

 

Have you found the perfect sports bra and are ready to make your way to the sales counter? If so, wait. You’re likely forgetting the most important thing already, this being that the bra you have chosen is meant to support you as best as possible during periods of heavy physical exertion.

Confused? Don’t be. Simply test your new bra by performing a few activities such as stretching and lunging. Are your straps digging in? Are your breasts themselves bulging anywhere? Is the front band sitting as flatly against your breast bone as it should? Even your straps riding upwards as you raise your arms is a sign that your bra won’t support you as best that it could.

All that said, if your new sports bra passes all of the above criteria, congratulations! Once you have the perfect fit, you can say goodbye finally to annoying aches, pains and in general discomfort as you exercise. Even better, many women love the added support that they get from a great fitting sports bra so much, that they often decide to wear sports bras in place of their regular bras. The only question is, will you? Moreover, even if not, how are you specifically going to take advantage of your new mobility now that you have the support you need?

 

To know more about the history of sports bras check out our previous posts :

Sports Bras 101: Their uses, history and importance

Sports Bras 101 Part Deux: Types of Sports Bras
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Sports Bras 101 Part Deux: Types of Sports Bras

Sports Bras 101 Part Deux: Types of Sports Bras

 

Are you considering becoming more physically active? Alternatively, are you a female sports enthusiast or gym junkie who simply hasn’t discovered the right sports bra for yourself yet? In the contemporary world there is an almost unlimited variety of sports bra designs to choose from. Even better, these often feature different fabrics and support systems. Which designs, though, are ultimately best for you in regard to your cup size and your chief sports requirements?

 

Sports Bra Buying 101

Firstly, it doesn’t matter what your chosen form of physical activity is. In every case, a great sports bra is a bra which is guaranteed to give optimum support to your breasts when either dancing, jogging, playing with children, or even cleaning up around the house. However, there are three main sports bra designs which every woman should familiarise themselves with.

 

Compression Bras

Known more casually as crop-tops, compression orientatedsports bra crop top sports bras are composed of strong elastic fibers which compress breasts together against the chest. Perfect for medium to high impact sports, crop-tops feature a crossed strap backing and are designed to prevent any and all breast movements. The only problem is that compression sports bras are only practical for women with C-cup or smaller breasts. This is due to the fact that crop-tops themselves don’t feature individual cups. In turn, the otherwise superb elastic support which crop-tops provide will often struggle to provide support for larger breast sizes.

 

Encapsulation Bras

Are you of a breastSport Bra size higher than a C-cup? Because of the size limitations of compression bras, women with C-cup or larger sized breasts will often choose to support their chest area using encapsulation sports bras. These are bras which support breasts separately in two carefully structured cups. Benefiting from reinforced straps and backings, encapsulation bras seek to support breasts individually, are suitable for high impact sports and will usually be closed using a dedicated zipper or hook system, in order to provide maximum support and comfort.  

 

Combination Bras

Are you still struggling to choose which sports bra design might me right for you? If so, combination bras which have cups but which also keep breasts held firmly against the body might be the right choice for you. These offer the best of both designs and are particularly suited to women with larger breasts who have struggled with support issues previously.

 

Other Factors to Consider

All that said, there are more factors than just cup sizes to consider when choosing a sports bra. Exercises such as running and jumping for example, require the maximum level of breast support possible. In this case, you might find that a combination bra is most suitable given the combination of breast support features. In like manner, skin elasticity decreases with both age and pregnancy. Meanwhile, larger breasts will usually be heavier and subsequently also best served by a combination or encapsulation sports bra.

 

Of course, all that any of the aforementioned factors mean is that when choosing a sports bra, you should always choose a design which feels comfortable and supportive of you individually. Once you’ve figured this out, there will be nothing to stop you taking to the gym or the running track as comfortably and as confidently as possible.  

 

Interested in finding out more? Don't miss our next blog post...

To know more about the history of sports bras check out our previous post :

SPORTS BRAS 101: THEIR USES, HISTORY & IMPORTANCE

Read more →