SOLE Insole Review

We were lucky to be sent the Active Footbeds from SOLE Insoles to trial and test (we were sent them a couple of months back) and ever since we have been testing them out. We wanted to make sure we really believed in the product before posting a review about them.

Last month I visited the country of La Palma, and I knew I would want to go running. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase to fit both my walking trainers and my running trainers so I decided to pack my walking trainers as they are super comfy and try out my new SOLE insoles.

I absolutely loved them, they made my runs super comfortable and gave me the extra support I needed with my walking trainers. I was worried that it was going to feel weird running with insoles in my trainers but it was the complete opposite it felt amazing.

So what are SOLE insoles we hear you asking? Good question! SOLE have created custom food beds and footwear that are innovative and adaptable products providing you with cushioning and support. They adapt to your body giving you the support you need (amazing huh).

People live with pain every single day and it can restrict every day activities (not always ideal)! Imagine if you didn’t have to live with that pain every single day that would be amazing right? Well that is exactly what SOLE set out to achieve.

SOLE insoles support your feet no matter what you activity levels are you will benefit from the personalised support and cushioning. Not only did I use the my SOLE insoles for running I also used them when we were hiking up the mountains in La Palma as they gave my feet the extra supported they needed. I am incredibly lucky and do not get any pain when I run or walk but that doesn’t mean my feet don’t need all the love and comfort they can get.

SOLE’s award-winning footbeds are the most effective over-the-counter orthotic insoles on the market and we cannot rave about them enough. Since returning from holiday we have been using our SOLE insoles all the time. I have a few other holidays booked in the next few weeks and you guessed it my insoles will be coming with me!

SOLE products are renowned for being long lasting and their customers are very satisfied with the products. SOLE footbeds have a 9- day guarantee, if you don’t love your insoles for any reason all you have to do is contact the customer service team for a full refund.

Lifestyle Choices Which Can Impact Your Fitness

Everyone cares about their body, and if they don’t then they should! How our body is functioning on inside is far more important that what it looks like on the outside! Of course you can work hard at the gym to help improve your overall health, but there might actually be some parts of your lifestyle that are impacting your bodily health and fitness.

SLEEP
Sleep is one of the most important parts for not only your physical health but your mental health as well. Not having enough sleep night after night isn’t a healthy way to live and there is only so much coffee that is gonna help! Digestion, growth, and even weight loss are just a handful of the areas which a lack of sleep can damage. Try putting your phone down before you go to bed to help you get little bit more sleep.

STRESS
No one wants to be stressed and there are some things in life that can cause a little bit of stress, maybe it’s your job or your finances. You might not think it at the time but the cause of stress is something you can have control of! Recognise what is making life hard and make changes where possible!

HYDRATION
Everyone knows how important it is to stay hydrated! Try and drink water throughout the day and only having fizzy drinks and fruit juices in between.

DIET
Your diet is also another important factor to ensuring you live a healthy lifestyle. There are so many tried and tested diets out there which yes some have proven to be successful, but we believe in eating a well balanced diet instead of going on a diet. If you are regularly going to the gym make sure you fuel yourself with the correct type of foods to ensure you have a fabulous workout!

There are a lot of substances which are becoming a normal part of human life, nowadays. Coffee, nicotine, and loads of other chemicals are used to make life feel just a little bit better, and this often isn’t too big of a problem (we love coffee). If you know anyone that has unfortunately moved onto harder substances they remember you can always speak to professions like people at https://www.rehabclinic.org.uk/

It can be very easy to set yourself back when you’re trying to improve your fitness. This part of life can be hard- remember not to deprive yourself of things you like because this will only result in bad habits resurfacing, enjoy things in moderation.

Tips for Getting Fit When You’re Not in the Mood

Everyone knows that exercise is healthy, and that staying physically active and in-shape is a lot better than the alternative of sitting around on the sofa all day and snacking on junk food (although this is great fun as well)!

People debate about the right kind of diet, and the best form of exercise to take, but in reality any form is exercise is good exercise and you should do what you enjoy and not just because it is a new ‘trend’.

Your exercise of choice may involve daily trips to the gym to weight train, or long walks in the countryside maybe even somewhere abroad in the mountains like walking in Andorra.

So, what should you do when you’re just not in the mood for exercising at all? Firstly think about whether or not you have worked out a lot and maybe you just need a rest day! Or maybe the weather is lush outside and you want to spend your time outside having a couple of drinks after work! All of this is okay and you don’t have to be 100% on it the entire time. If this is something that is happening more frequently though then take a read of our tips below to help you get back on track!

Increase your energy levels
If you hate the idea of exercise and you just can’t motivate yourself to train because you are too tired. This may be due to your energy levels make sure you are getting enough sleep and furling your body with the right type of food! This should help you feel more energised and want to exercise, oh and doing the below will allow you to get the most out of a workout.

While everyone has an off day here or there (we are only human), your basic relationship with exercise should be positive. You should want to move your body! .

Begin small and work your way up as you feel ready for it
Sometimes, we feel completely unmotivated to train, because we go too hard and reach out limits and then basically cannot walk for a couple of days LOL we have all been there. Go at your own pace and even adapt certain exercises for your ability.

Exercise will soon become part of your routine and a habit, start with exercises you are comfortable with and then begin to introduce new moves and exercises into your workout.

Focus on workouts that leave you feeling satisfied by the end, not ruined
It’s become fashionable these days to train until our souls want to escape our bodies! We love feeling satisfied with our workout by the end of it but it is also important not too push yourself to the absolute limit where you end up feeling worse than when you started.

When you push yourself too hard in training, you cause your body more stress than is good for it, and you condition yourself to see exercise as a nightmare.

Staying Healthy And Fit During Your Summer Travels

More and more of us are getting ready for our summer holidays wooohooo! From short-haul to Europe (Annie is off to Spain and Rhodes), to longer haul (Rachel is off to Canada)! Regardless of where you are going you have probably already thought about packing It’s definitely something you either love or hate!

Does anyone else find that whenever they stop and finally rest they get ill? We always do and it totally sucks! Although in summer there are fewer bugs around to catch, you can still get ill in summer, especially in a new country where you’re trying new foods or have a body clock that is all over the place. So here are some of the best ways that you can stay well on your travels this summer.

Hydrate

This is going to be one of the most important points for your summer travels. Temperatures are hotting up, and you’ll be losing a lot of water through sweat when you’re away.

If you decide to go on a boat trip or spend time by the sea you are likely to not feel as hot, as the breeze will cool you. But you will still be losing water. So you need to be drinking at least two liters of water a day, if not more. It can be tricky in some countries to do so, as you can’t drink the tap water. So stock up at local supermarkets with some bottled water. A cost-efficient way of doing it is taking your own reusable water bottle, and then fill it up each day from a large bottle of water bought from a store. Plus, places like hotel gyms have bottled water that you can decant and fill up your own bottle with.

Avoid Jet Lag

If you have jet lag, then it means that you can be sleeping at unusual hours, not getting enough sleep, or just generally feeling unwell. While this is more common when flying long-haul, it can happen any time. One of the best pieces of advice to avoid jet lag is to try to get on the new country’s time, as soon as you get on the plane. If you’re going to be landing somewhere and it will be daytime, then you need to sleep as much as you can on the plane, so that you can stay awake when you get there.

Exercise

Some holidays are going to be pretty active ones (think hiking trips or city breaks). So you’re less likely to need to exercise formally on those kinds of trip. But going off to the beach for two weeks means that you may decide to keep active by going for a run or visiting the hotel gym. We sometimes like to research gyms in the local area as well. It’s not that you have to exercise when on holiday and don’t think you do we just like to it helps us keep sane and also means we can enjoy one of two more cocktails than normal.

Watch What You Eat

This actually doesn’t have anything to do with calorie intake or anything like that, but more about how the foods are prepared and if they will be good for you. Even something like a salad, that has been washed in tap water, can make you sick. So you need to check things like that. It can also be a good idea to avoid certain things on street food carts, especially if you can’t check how it has been prepared. You want to reduce the chance of you getting sick from something you’ve eaten, and avoid getting anything like Delhi-Belly.

Sunscreen

It can be easy to forget about sunscreen and go wild by the pool in the hopes of getting a tan. And while the long-term effects of sun damage aren’t going to have an impact immediately, there are some side-effects that will. You can get sore, cracked, or broken skin, as well as something like sunstroke. That can leave you feeling nauseous, lethargic, high temperature, and in a lot of pain. So it really is simple; wear sunscreen, and keep applying it often.

Relax

Taking some time out when you’re on holiday can be just what you need to unwind and relax. And while you’re taking a break from some of the stressors of every day and your normal routine, holidays can still feel a little full on. So look for ways to help you to be more mindful. This could be meditation, writing in a journal, doing some exercise like yoga, or taking yourself off for a spa treatment. Time out gives you time to de-stress and to relax.

Have you got any tried and tested tips that help you to stay healthy on your travels this summer? It would be great to hear what you think.

STAXX Protein Bars Review

We had never heard of STAXX Bars before we were very kindly sent them to review as they have recently launched three new flavour- Peanut & Caramel, Cookies & Cream & Dark Chocolate Mint. STAXX previously only had the Chocolate Caramel flavour. We couldn’t wait to try all of the flavours when they arrived as they all sounded delicious.

You can currently purchase STAXX bars on the website or across many other independent and online retailers including Amazon and Muscle food.

We can honestly say that STAXX bars are the nicest protein bars we have EVER tried, and we have tired a lot. We LOVE the fact you cannot taste the protein in the bars which is something we have struggled to find.

When we eat a STAXX Bar it feels like you are eating a chocolate bar, it really hits the spot and doesn’t leave us craving more sugary foods. The sugar content is low with most of them having about 2g of sugar per bar which is also another bonus. They also contain 20g Protein and are also low in net carbs.

We love how chewy the STAXX Bars are as well, they all have a caramel consistency to them which you will also love if you like a chewy protein bar. All the bars have a chocolate rice crispy coating on the outside layer which is something we really enjoyed.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL
This was the first flavour we tried and immediately fell in love with the brand and the bars they had on offer. Chocolate caramel was also the first STAXX Bar launched and the only one you can currently purchase on their website. I felt like I was eating a toffee crisp which was a massive throw back as I have not had a toffee crisp in SO long, those chocolate bars are so under rated!

PEANUT & CARAMEL
This one was quite similar to the chocolate caramel flavour just with peanuts. We love peanuts and anything nutty  so this bar was right up our street. We loved the caramel in the bar mostly because we are fast eaters and it slowed us down so we could saviour it for longer.

DARK CHOCOLATE MINT
Dark Chocolate Mint was definitely one of my favourites which I was really surprised about but that is just purely down to the fact I always forget how much I actually enjoy mint flavoured chocolate. It reminded me of a mint Aero but with a crispy outer layer.

COOKIES & CREAM
I left this flavour until last as I am not usually a fan of cookies and cream flavoured products but when I did eventually try it I actually really enjoyed it.  It wasn’t my favourite out of the four as it didn’t give me that WOW factor and the flavours were not as intense.

We enjoyed the bars so much we headed straight to the website and ordered a box. There is a taster box available where you can purchase a box of all the flavours for £8.99. We ordered 12 of the Chocolate Caramel Flavour because it was our favourite but we will be ordering some of the Dark Chocolate Mint ones as well.

We hope to see STAXX bars in supermarkets in 2018 because that would be amazing!

Walking In The Woods

Do you ever just wake up in the morning and all you fancy doing is going for a long walk through the woods? We LOVE walking we think it does wonders for the mind and we always feel so much better for it.

There is something about getting out of bed on a Sunday morning, putting on some trainers, our scruffy clothes and getting outside to enjoy the fresh air in this beautiful world we live in. Sundays are usually our rest days from the gym so instead we slow down the pace and just go for a casual stroll instead, it’s the only time of the week where we actually slow down, no wonder our minds work at 100mph if our bodies are doing exactly the same.

We have both been lucky enough to grow up with the woods just a stone throw away and trust us we don’t take it for granted, we absolutely love it and we make the most of it wherever possible.  Sunday morning are always so peaceful we rarely see another soul, which always surprises us as we always expect to see lots of people, although saying that  most people are probably enjoying a lazy Sunday in bed  as we are known to wake up unusually early.  You will see us out in the woods come rain, snow or shine, we especially love it in the snow it’s like our own little winter wonderland where we can pretend we are in Narnia it’s truly is beautiful.

We have never understood why people HATE walking? Walking is free and one of the easiest ways to get fit and become more active yet so many people hate it. As a society it has become too easy to get from A to B without using your legs, there are so many different types of transport these days it has resulted in us not having to walk.

We are those people that think it’s possible to WALK anywhere and everywhere, we recently saw a meme on Facebook of this and it made us laugh because that is us down to a T! We always try and beat the Google Maps whenever we walk anywhere it’s become a little game we have, because we are so COOL!

Motivation to get outside & run

Sometimes we all need a little bit of motivation to get outside and run no matter how much we love running. Now the weather is getting colder it can become harder to find the motivation to put on our running gear and get outside (it’s hard enough getting out of bed in the morning let alone getting outside).

We actually much prefer running in the cold, we can run faster and further, but we do occasionally need a little kick up the butt to get us out in the first place.

Make a plan at the beginning of the week- we like to roughly plan the days we go running but we will always be flexible depending on the weather. If it’s a miserable evening then there is no point forcing yourself outside, you won’t enjoy it and it may put you off going out again.

Download a Podcast- If you have downloaded a podcast that you are really looking forward to listening to then this is likely to motivate you to get outside. Set yourself a deal that you can only listen to the Podcast when you are out running that is sure to get your but into gear.

Running gear- make sure you invest in some running clothes and gloves that are warm enough to get you through the colder winter months. Last year we invested in some running gloves and we have never looked back, they are amazing.

Just keep telling yourself how amazing you will feel after- try and remember the feeling you get after every run, we love the feeling after a run we don’t get this feeling after any other workout. You will also find that running takes up less of your time than heading to the gym, you don’t have to wait for anyone to finish with equipment and you also don’t have the journey time to factor in.

Make a date – we always find that arranging to run with someone else is all the motivation you need, you have made a commitment to your friend after all.

Find a local running club- If you haven’t got any friends or colleagues who enjoy running then why not find a running club to join there are so many free running clubs around and it’s a great way to keep you motivated during the colder months.

Sign up to a race- sign up for a spring run that way you will have to get outside and run otherwise. Having a race in the calendar and something to work towards is a great motivator especially if you haven’t run the distance before.

Refined sugar free Apple loaf cake

We love apple cake and decided we wanted to create a refined sugar free apple load because as proven previously in our banana loaf recipe you don’t have to use refined sugar in a cake for it to taste delicious.

We had a few goes experimenting with the recipe but we are finally happy with it and easy to share it with you! Let us know if you decide to make it and we would love to see your creations as always 🙂

apple loaf.png

Ingredients
2 Braeburn apple
200g oat flour (we just blend oats that we already have in the cupboard)
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml milk of your choice we used almond milk
3tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
2tsp Cinnamon

Method
Pre heat your oven to 180oc
Line your loaf tin and grease with some melted coconut oil
Blend the oats until they are fine and resemble flour
Chop 1 1/2 apples into medium sized chunks- with the remainder of the apple you will need to cut it into slices that can be placed ontop of the cake (as seen in the photo above)
Mix your oat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, 2tbsp coconut sugar and diced apples together until combined.
Pour in the milk and stir until mixed well.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin
Place the sliced apple on top of the mixutre
sprinkle with 1tbsp coconut sugar
Bake the apple loaf for 30 minutes until cooked throughout
When cooked let cool and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee!

Fitbit Fans

Two Christmas ago (2015) we both asked for Fitbits, previously we had been tracking our daily step count on the Health app which comes free with the IPhone 6. The health app wasn’t a great way of tracking as it meant you had to have your phone on your 24/7 and it wasn’t able to track any exercise. Before our Fitbits we were using the Nike Running App to track our runs which is another great app.

Fitbit 2

We have office jobs so for 8 hours of the day we are mostly sat down, when we started to use the Health app we realised how little steps one would do if not completing any additional exercise during the day. It’s no wonder people start piling on the pounds as soon as they start an office job, we all know how busy our lives become and exercise can sometimes take a back seat.

Fitbit 4.png

It is so true that motivation is what gets you started but habit is what keeps you going. Living a healthy and balanced life has become part of our everyday routine. We love going to the gym and working out and nourishing out body with wholesome foods. Although we also know that moderation is key, don’t deprive yourself of yummy treats every once in a while. We are avid bakers and we certainly like to enjoy the goodies we bake!

Fitbit offers a two year warranty which is brilliant, we have each spoken to different customer service reps for different reasons and they have all offered great customer service. You only have to look at Fitbit on twitter to see that everyone else agrees.

The Fitbit app is also really good, you can sync your Fitbit daily and it will update your activity. You can also sync the Fitbit to other apps such as my fitness pal. See below what we think about our fitbits and the qualities they have!

fitbit 1

HR Charge
The HR Charge is currently £70 on Amazon
Sizes: Small, large and extra large
Colours: there are a range of colours (Black, Blue, Purple)
The HR Charge tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, heart rate, hourly activity and stationary time.

You can also monitor your sleep on the HR Chardge and the Alta (See below). We have only tracked our sleep a couple of times but it tells you the amount of times you woke up in the night and how many times you were restless. It’s a good feature if you don’t think you get much sleep at night.

Battery Life- the battery life is great on the HR charge it last ups to 5 days.

Alta
The Fitbit Alta is currently £80 on Amazon
Sizes: Small, large and extra large
Colours: there are a range of colours (blue, purple, black and there are a coupld of special editions) and you can even change the straps on the Fitbit Alta.
All day activity tracker, which you can tap to the screen to display.
Long battery life- lasts up to 5 days

Go and order a Fitbit, you won’t regret it! 🙂

What’s In Our Gym Bag 

gym

We really enjoy watching ‘What’s in my bag’ YouTube videos so decided to write a ‘what’s in my gym bag’ blog post. Whether you are popping to the gym or heading to work we always like to carry some essentials with us as you never know when you might need them! Some of the items below we wouldn’t carry to the gym if we didn’t have any plans pre or post workout, instead we would go home and get ready for the day.

At the moment the gym bag Annie is currently using is a black Adidas rucksack and Rachel has a limited edition Cath Kidston Mickey Mouse bag. These rucksacks literally come everywhere with us, they are the perfect size and comfortable to wear.

gym-2

Sweat Towel- One of the Boutique gyms we go to actually provides sweat towels which is great as you don’t have to pack your own, if your gym doesn’t provide sweat towels we would suggest bringing your own! There is something worse than using the blue paper towels some gyms provide.

Headphones- When working out alone whether this is running or the gym headphones are essential! Whether you use them to catch up on Youtube when on the treadmill or listen to music when lifting weights. When we work out together we don’t wear headphones as we have each other to talk to.

Water Bottle- It is so important to stay hydrated at the gym. Your ability to perform well will decline if you are dehydrated. Drinking water is essential if you want to get most out of your workout and feel good while you’re doing it. If you don’t drink enough water when working out you may experience dizziness, tiredness and muscle cramps.

Drying Towel- We tend to go to the gym before work and during our lunch break so it’s important we remember to pack a drying towel.

Spare Clothes- Spare clothes are essential if you go to the gym before work or if you have plans post workout.

Wash bag & Make up- Remember to pack make up remover and face wash so you can wash your face pre workout, there is nothing worse than sweating off your make up you have been wearing all day. Other items we like to pack in our wash bag are: Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower gel, Moisturiser and our makeup bag.

Protein Shaker- We like to carry a protein shaker in our bag so we can refuel. This isn’t something we carry in our bag all the time. We would have a protein shake after the gym if we have a while to wait for our next meal e.g. on the way to work pre breakfast.