What’s The Scariest Thing At The Gym For You?

Okay, Health – e’s – today’s post isn’t so much information from me, but a question to you…..I’m wondering what scares you/intimidates or just plain baffles you at the gym or about exercise per se. Or what did do that when you first started exercising?

I’m not talking about the grunting bloke slinging weights in the corner (he’s annoying not scary) but instead things that might be messing with your workout in some way. It might be a bit of equipment you can’t use but would love to; a skill you’d love to master or just a really basic thing you are a bit too embarrassed to ask.

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I’ll start as my answer to this is pretty much everything – for example….

I’d absolutely love to play tennis but I can’t hit a ball to save my life

I run right up by the console of the treadmill as I have a fear about falling off the back. This meant when a trainer recently tried to make me move a turned off treadmill simply by running on it  (yes, that’s a thing)- I wouldn’t go close enough to the back to make it move!

I can’t plank……it messes up my back. If I try I end up not only not being able to plank, but also not being able to run which seems kind of counterproductive – but I’d love to know how to change that as I’d quite like abs thanks.

I can’t jump on a plyo-box with both feet. Seriously, it is hilarious to watch.

Oh, and I still don’t know exactly what height a spinning bike should be.

Why am I asking this….erm, just ideal curiosity……nothing special. Let’s just call this interactive week on Health-e-Helen. If there is anything though I’d love to hear about it via the little comments bubble.

On which note….don’t forget to enter the Flipbelt giveaway.Oh, and a few of you have signed up to the blog, but didn’t enter the giveaway – that’s fine (waves and smiles at the lovely new people) but if you do want to go in the draw, leave a comment on the post so I know.

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net

Helen’s Fabulous Flipbelt Giveaway

You may have noticed it’s been a bit quiet over here recently, I’ll be honest I’ve been having a bit of a crisis of blog-fidence. I went though a phase of thinking I wasn’t thin enough, young enough or exercisey enough to be writing a diet and fitness blog (and I sure as heck don’t eat enough kale!). At one point there was even tears about the whole thing….it kind of took the joy away and I just wasn’t wanting to post as often as normal.

There’s been a lot of pondering re all of this. It’s taken a few weeks but I think I’ve come up with a solution to the issue which once I’ve sorted it all out I shall explain with much excitement – but right now, I’m happy again and so to celebrate the return of my blog-fidence, I decided why not have a giveaway. Yay……presents.

Win a Flipbelt here

Win a Flipbelt here

After all, the other day online store Runner’s Need sent me a fabulous box of running goodies to announce the launch of their running treasure hunts. Normally that’s the type of thing I’d have been all over posting – it sounded super fun, but I was right in the midst of my personal pity party and I admit, I missed the dates (oops!). However, in the goodie box was a Flipbelt. Regular readers will know I love my Flipbelt and think it’s one of the best inventions ever (see my full review of it here) – and so I decided why not let one of you guys have the new shiny one. It’s worth £25 don’t you know.

All you’ve to do to be in a chance to win is be following this blog (either already or by signing up after you read this post) and post ‘let me win the brilliant belt please Helen’ or some variation of that in the comments section, (you get there via the little bubble above).

If you REALLY want to win it, you’ll also get an extra entry if you follow the health-e-helen instagram feed – don’t forget to leave a comment so I know you’ve come from here. I’ll draw the winners next Monday after 8pm. And let you know on here who has won. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering what colour Flipbelt it is, it’s a bright orange one – like this.

Win a flipbelt

Before you do that though, I might have missed out on mentioning the RN treasure hunt but I do I notice they’re stocking something seriously cool on their website; the new bpay wristbands and keyfobs. These launched a few weeks ago and are a genius idea for runners – run by Barclaycard you top them up with a certain amount of funds and then use them like a contactless card by waving them over the terminal to pay for anything up to £20 (rising to £30 in September). They’re open to anyone who has a UK registered credit or debit card you don’t have to be a Barclays customer to get one, you just buy it from somewhere like Runners Need.

Bpay wristbands - brilliant for runners

The new Bay Pay Wristband

Why do I think these could be helpful….

  1. I have pulled too many slightly soggy emergency fivers out of my running belt to buy a drink with on a long run. No-one wants to hand sweaty money to people.
  2. I once ended a two hour training run in town where I needed to buy a book. There I was thinking I was being super efficient – only to discover my debit card had expired two days early and that was all I’d brought with me! I then had to run all the way home again as I couldn’t get any cash out for the bus either
  3.  Sometimes I don’t want to run any more and just want to get the bus home – this would help!

If you want to check them out, here’s where you can buy the bands. Right, now I’ve been useful, you can stop reading and enter my giveaway!

My First Geocache Adventure

For reasons I cannot yet divulge, I am walking a lot right now…but it’s getting a bit dull walking round and round the block, so, on Sunday I decided to try something different to rack up the step numbers –  I went Geocaching. If you’re asking what is geocaching – it’s basically, treasure hunting for people with smartphones!

Geocaching...there's gold in one of them right?

Geocaching…there’s gold in one of them right?

I first heard about this during the Disneyland Half Marathon, Lily, a member of the WISH team, the Disney based running team that I’m a member of, do it would hop off to cache between races….at this point I had to google to see what on earth that meant, and who knew….It seems that all around the world people have put little boxes of ‘stuff’ for other people to find – and, unless you are a member of the Geocaching community you don’t even know they are there. I’ve run past the place where the one I found was hundreds of times with no clue there was a small box of excitement just waiting for people to discover it.

To get started I had to download the geocaching app from itunes, sign up for an account and then, type in my postcode, a quick search later and two little boxes came up within a short distance of my house – one was in the church down the road (but a quick check of people’s comments seemed to say that it might have been moved as no-one can find it) but, there was another one, about 12 minutes away that had ‘suitable for beginner’s written on it’ I popped on my shoes and headed out the door.

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If you’re cacheing in a new city the app synchs with google maps so you can get clear directions to the approximate location of your treasure, but I knew where I was going – however when I got there I admit I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do, but then I realised there’s a compass on the app and it basically tells you which direction to look in and, tells you how close you are in metres, which is the technological equivalent  of ‘hotter, colder’ or ‘left a bit, right a bit’ depending on your own parents preference when hiding your birthday presents.

Thankfully there are also clues if you get stuck or I might still be walking round a car park waving my phone – I knew I was within a metre of the geocache but all I could see was an electricity box. I didn’t think it could be that, but then I checked the clue which showed me that, yes, that was it. Closer inspection revealed a geocache sticker on the side….now, when you reach a geocache, I’d read that there should be a little box and a log book that you sign (I’d bought my pen out specially), sometimes there’s even little trinkets to trade…now I’m not sure if someone has pinched that box, whether it was hidden somewhere else in that area (I did have a hunt but couldn’t see it) or, if I was supposed to open the power box, but when something says ‘Danger: 230 volts on it’ my fingers are staying, far, far away – I found the sticker and so as far as I’m concerned, yay,,,,,I win.

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NB: I have now gone online and checked the pictures and it seems you can open the box . It’s a dummy one…consdering the name of the quest is ‘Shocking Lie’ so, that would make sense. Still, better safe than sorry.

It seems there’s loads of other caches near me…..this could be fun. Or, I could explode in a big pile of enormous geekdom, which also works for me….if I do, do you think I’ll catch the ability to code. I do hope so.

If you want to find out more about geocaching visit geocaching.com to sign up and find the caches nearest to you – and if you ever meet a lady called Lily, tell her I said hi.

Rainbow image: freedigitalphotos.net

Convenience Smoothies – it’s a thing

There’s a reason you don’t see me posting many pictures of smoothies or green juice on here (or even on the health-e-helen instagram) – I don’t drink them. I’d prefer to have some crunch my fruits and vegetables and eat them whole than mix them up into green sludge – and don’t even get me started on the fact that life is waaaaaayyyy to short to clean a juicer. I happily consume at least five portions of fruit and veg daily and so don’t feel the need to blend, however, I was in Tesco the other night and I spotted this…

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It’s ready cut, ready portioned mango, apple and kale – all you do is stick it in your smoothie maker, add water and whizz – and there you go, your own ready to drink green goodness. At the point I couldn’t decide if this was absolutely genius or the laziest thing I’d ever seen (and this is someone who does buy ready cut melon when I want melon because I can’t be faffed to cut the real stuff). Whatever it was, there was one in my basket faster than you could say ‘three for a fiver’.

It was a couple of days before I had an occasion to drink it – I’d got back from the gym starving and decided I needed a snack before lunch – this would be my snack. I popped it all into the blender, whizzed and about a minute later had thick green sludge. At this point I tried to photograph it, but, it just looked like pond slime in a glass – seriously, how do people make smoothies look good when they photograph them, it’s beyond me. The good news was, it actually tasted pretty good – personally I would have preferred to have the kale, mango and apple with some prawns in a salad, but, the liquified version was pretty tasty .

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Before this though I’d been sent an even lazier  more convenient form of smoothie – called Love Your Blender, it’s basically a bend of nuts, seeds, superfood powders and dried fruit that you add to your blender with a liquid and, if you want to, some extra fruit – there are four different suggestions on each sachet to choose from. I’d tried three out of the five flavours so far – and they’re really tasty. My only criticism is that I think you need a slightly better blender than I have – while mine works fine on fresh fruit and veg, it didn’t cut through some of the ingredients in these sachets – and I was picking bits of leaf and stem out of my teeth for ages. If you’ve got a nutribullet though you’d probably be good to go.

Here’s what the sachets look like before…again, my after pictures leave a lot to be desired so, use your imagination to work out what they actually look like in a drink (and if someone could post an idiots guide to photographing smoothies in the comments that would be handy).

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A quick google shows me though that these are not the only ‘convenience smoothies’ out there – you can buy frozen blends from Love Smoothies at Ocado, Waitrose also do their own version called LoveLife and there’s heaps of others out there…seems it’s never been easier to join the wellness revolution – next thing you know someone will be making a ready made Caulfilower Rice that you just shove in the microwave……oh, that’s right, they already have!

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What happened when I went to Rebounce class (yay: there’s smiling)

Trampolining and rebounding is currently the exercise equivalent of Hansel – it’s so hot right now. In London you can’t chuck a stick without hitting a new trampoline park or bouncing class (don’t try the stick chucking thing – it’ll rebound back off the trampolines, they’ll be nosebleeds, it’ll get messy) and so, the other Sunday I hopped off to Putney in Southwest London to give one a go.

Rebounce exercise class

It’s called Rebounce and it’s run by Missy Frank – that’s her at the front looking jumpy. I was really looking forward to this class as in my head it involved me simply jumping up and down indulging my inner Tigger for 45 minutes – maybe at different speeds and heights. Even my stupidly unco-ordinated body could manage that. Now I admit that the fact that it’s held in a dance studio and created by a choreographer should maybe have alerted me otherwise but, no….

Anyway, I started off getting to grips with my mini-tramp (okay, that sounds weird). Sadly, unlike big bouncy trampolines jump height is not what you’re aiming for on a little one. Instead you aim to control your bounce pushing the weight down rather than flinging yourself up. Missy also explained that if you jump too close to the front you will find yourself shuffling closer to the front of the room – stay in the middle. I was far too wary of the whole thing overbalancing to move from the middle trust me, but a few jumps in and I’d got the hang of it.

Then the class began….with 120 crunches (wasn’t expecting that but it was okay) – then there was music, there was bouncing, there was a routine for each song….oh god. To be honest the moves were pretty simple – it’s things like twist to the side, bounce on one leg, kick your right foot forward, kick your left foot back, bounce round in a circle. Normal people would be able to cope…my brain however, is able to remember five moves and then basically….

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It explodes with information and simply can’t cope….however in this class, it doesn’t really matter – I did the five moves I mastered, then I just bounced up and down in whatever way I felt worked for me until we got to the bit where we did the ones I knew again. Other people were doing the same and what made this class truly different was – they were smiling – yes, people were having fun. All hail the goddess of trampoline for she has brought joy back to exercise.

Basically I had a blast and, while I was sweating masses it wasn’t super intensive and at no point did I feel I couldn’t keep up which was great. It’s also seriously low impact. A couple of tips if you do try it – wear your best sports bra unless you want boobs down your knees by the end of it (I even dragged out the Panache one I virtually dislocate my shoulder to get into) and, don’t be scared. When you are scared you tense your feet and put your weight through your toes – this will cause your feet to hurt and you will have to keep wiggling them (don’t ask me how I know this!).

Right now Rebounce is only available in South London – in Putney on a Sunday and Clapham on a Wednesday and you do have to book in advance as spaces are limited – but, do book, it’s fun. Here’s where to book your Rebounce class. 

Boom image@ freedigitalphotos.net

Woah….you can dispense soap shaped like Mickey Mouse!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled fitness and nutrition programming today because….you can now squirt soap in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head, and as far as I’m concerned this is big news. Look…

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Okay so you have to fly to Tokyo and go to Tokyo Disneyland Resort to do it, but can I reiterate; you push down the handle on the soap dispenser and instead of a sticky pink blob you get soapy foam in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head. It’s a joint initiative between Tokyo Disneyland and health and beauty company the Kao Corporation – and they even had an official opening ceremony for the hand washing areas – there’s one in Critter Country in Tokyo Disneyland and one at American Waterfront at Tokyo DisneySea Park, and the idea is that by making washing hands fun they can encourage good hand hygiene in kids. KIDS. I want one of these installed in my own bathroom immediately.

Considering this week the results of a huge study into hand washing were published which looked at what happened when people were encouraged to wash their hands by visiting a website looking at the benefits (Spoiler alert: they got fewer colds, flu and tummy upsets, plus they visited their GP less often and took fewer antibiotics), we know have proof that hand washing is a major health booster. Now I’ve been on that website and trust me, it’s not nearly as much fun as Mickey Mouse soap – although it does have cartoon viruses. I’m already desperate to go back to Japan, now I want to go even more.

Bodhi pilates, olive leaf waters and super swanky tea….it’s healthista day

I have a confession, until a couple of weeks ago I had never done Reformer Pilates….okay, I’m aware when it comes to shock value it’s not ‘I married my brother’ but I write about health and fitness, you’d think I’d have tried it once, but no.

My Re-ginity vanished care of bePilates near London’s Baker Street station. They popped me on it before I tried the thing I was supposed to be reviewing which is a new type of pilates called Bodhi. This is kind of like a cross between TRX and pilates. You hang from, stand on and swing from the handles and ropes, all while doing pilates type core moves. All the wobbling gets your core moving brilliantly – and, while I was a bit wary of the move that saw me standing holding onto two ropes (like a swing) while standing with each foot in a handle and balancing about 4″ off the floor – now, lets think what could possibly go wrong there……..’imagines every cartoon stretching splits scene ever’…….the rest of the time I had a blast. Look that’s it below….

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Anyway, while I liked Bodhi, I loved reformer and am now desperately trying to find one near me. No luck so far, but there’s got to be one hidden somewhere.

So, anyway, Bodhi is my favourite thing from this month’s healthista.com page, but there’s lots of other fun things on there if you want to head over including….
New Ovio olive leaf water which is my favourite of all the new summer drinks I’ve tried.
Posh body boosting teas from uber trainers Bodyism
New snacks including a scrummy trail mix and the new Graze single serve range
A fab idea to steal from takeaway folks Pod – perfect for those summer days that can’t make up their mind.
Oh and a reminder re the Color Run Night event. Have you entered yet…..yell if you have, I still need a running buddy.

Find it here…..and yes I know its an ungainly link but I’m typing this on the sofa and the linky thing isnt working for me!
http://www.healthista.com/6-health-trends-not-to-miss-this-august/

Aquabase Floating Exercise…..aka The One Where Helen Falls In the Lake

I was very excited when I first saw about Aquabase a few weeks ago. The idea sounds fun. It’s a large floating exercise mat upon which you do various exercises like yoga or toning moves. The theory is that the instability of the water causes you to wobble about therefore engaging more muscles and making your workout harder.

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I could probably have handled this….

When they invited me to the media class to test it out I leapt at the chance. I was instructed to turn up at the entrance to the Serpentine Lido by 6.30pm – I left home 2 hours and 10 minutes earlier to ensure this would happen. Cue, epic failure of travel involving late trains, a longer walk than I thought, and my not knowing where the entrance to the Serpentine Lido was and ending up on the opposite side of the lake – and tempting as it was to swim across and get there on the time, the net result of walking all the way round the lake instead was that I arrived 15 minutes late and the class had already started. No worries, said the team, there’s another one afterwards – do that.

I watched the first class, picking up pointers – lots of people fell in which made me feel better if I did – but it looked okay. Lots of stretching, squats, lying on the mat etc etc, then they all stood up and did some squats and upright stuff before hitting the mat again. When our time came there were four of us – feeling brave I hit the water first, only to unleash a torrent of F words a sailor would be proud of. It was, erm, let’s use the words rather chilly……However, I paddled out to my mat, manage to drag myself on (in a manner which I think looked rather like one of the performing walruses at a water park) and was happily balanced on my knees.

At this point, I was joyous – I had cracked it. I was a balancing genius. Excellent.  When the instructor arrived, he mentioned that as it was getting colder he was going to get us moving…..we were to stand up on the mat by putting one foot forward then kind of jumping up. Right now imagine someone doing that, rapidly followed by the sound of a scream and a large splash….that would be me. I was in the lake within 10 seconds – brilliant. At this point cue lots of random floundering while I waited for my contact lenses to realign themselves (remembering at this point that maybe wearing contact lenses in a lake full of duck poo was a really bad idea) and then got back on the board. By this point everyone else was standing….I tried again. Nope, not happening.

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People who are much better at this than me!

No worries, I thought I’ll just wait until we do some lower down stuff, I’ll get my balance soon it’ll be fine. We did some mountain climbers – excellent. Now, jump up again, said the instructor. By this time, the cold water had caused by entire right foot to lock in a spasm meaning I wouldn’t have been able to stand up even if I had the balance of Oksana Baiul. After a few minutes of this I was getting really cold, and frankly, a bit upset. Yet again, I’m the crap one at the back who can’t do anything – I admit, I get this in every class. but most of the time talk myself out of it, start laughing and just keep going, but I was freezing, loads of people were looking at us, cameras were being pointed in the our direction – and I just wanted to go home. So, I’m afraid to say that’s exactly what I did. I hopped off the side, back into the lake and headed for shore! Sometimes you have to learn when things aren’t for you.

It’s a shame as the people who’d done the first class had all had a brilliant time – so, I think if you get the right class it’s still a great idea. I think I just ended up in a session doing too much too soon. It definitely does work though – I reckon I was on the board 5-10 minutes and by the time I got home I could tell I’d worked my butt simply by trying to balance on my knees. I think, I’d  like to try it again somewhere warm – if I hadn’t been so cold I think I’d have been keener to stick with it, happily floating about on the fitness equivalent of a lilo until we got to something less, erm, standy! As it was my part reptile temperature system just couldn’t cope.

If you’re braver than me though you can find more info at aquaphysical.com – if you do try it, the top tip for staying dry (which obviously I ignored totally) is stay in the middle of the board and keep your centre of gravity low (apparently).Oh and wear more clothes than you think you’re going to need. I was in a singlet and shorts – I might have done better in a long sleeved top and leggings. I also really don’t recommend contact lenses in that lake!

Coming Back To Fitness – to plan or not to plan.

So I’ve mentioned on here that my fitness has kind of slid recently – and that I’ve been trying to get back into a routine. Well that’s failed…..I did all the things you’re supposed to do. Planned my workouts, wrote them in my diary like appointments – and then life got in the way. The type of life you can’t ignore, like people needing extra little bits of work (NOW) and someone you need to speak to for the thing that earns you money wanting to talk to you at the exact moment you planned to be at the gym – and yes, the sun coming out and deciding I’d rather be sitting in it with a beer than lifting weights inside.

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I admit the feeling of abject failure was getting me down. And so I decided to change things. This week I decided to workout when I actually could – not when I thought I could in this mythical world of unicorns, fairies and time that’s my own. This is how it’s gone….

Saturday

Unicorn World Plan: run for 40 minutes first thing

Reality: Friday night wine stopped play. Did 20 minutes during a spurt of energy at 3pm instead

Sunday

Unicorn World Plan: No exercise

Reality: I needed to do 40 minutes so I did them Sunday morning instead

Monday

Unicorn World Plan: Run to the gym at 4.30 – workout until 6pm

Reality: Went into hysteria, decided I would need to work late to get everything done. However I had to go to the post office – normally I walk to the one 15 minutes up the road – so, instead, I got the bus to the post office next to gym at 2pm and trained for 30 minutes, ran home. Finished  all my work at 6.30pm anyway as loads of people replied while I was at the gym!

Tuesday

Unicorn World Plan: Oh god, oh god, oh god – I have to go to London at 10.20. I’ve got to do masses of work before I go. I can’t exercise….blah blah

Reality: Woke to sunny day – realised I only had to leave 10 minutes earlier to walk to the station than if I get the bus (due to having to be at the bus stop one bus before the one I need as they don’t always come). 40 minute fast walk to the station

Wednesday

Unicorn World Plan: Going to test exercise class in London

Reality: Got lost – but did 45 minute fast walk round Hyde Park while trying to work out where I was supposed to be. Did 10 minutes of exercise class (more on that another day!)

Thursday

Unicorn World Plan: Go the gym at 4.30 – workout till 6pm.

Reality: Interviewee can only speak to me at 4.15pm, boyfriend wishes to go out tonight so can’t go to the gym later (unless wish to go in sweaty kit).

Unicorn world plan 2: Go to gym at at 7.30am – fail again as panicking over piece due this morning.

Reality – file piece by 8am, have a cup of tea – go to gym from 9-10.30am – world didn’t end, I don’t seem to be unemployed and I still got all my to do list done and I’m typing a blog post

So, that’s actually quite a lot of exercise for someone who didn’t actually stick to her plan once! And wow, do I feel better for it. So what is the point of this post…..well I realised something. I realised that I don’t have a scheduled enough life to plan my workouts and, while this goes against every fibre of my control freak personality, if I’m going to get into a fitness routine I’ve got to let go of the fact that it’s going to be a routine…..that doesn’t mean it can’t be frequent, but it’s not going to be a routine……fingers crossed this is the epiphany that changes everything.

So, how do you schedule your workouts? With military precision or does being more freeform work for you?

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

Five Reasons Why I Love Fat Lass at The Back’s Running Shirt

Fat Lass At The Back review

This post is rather late – I spoke about Fat Lass at The Back in my healthista.com page a few weeks back – and I was supposed to write a review then. However in my infinite wisdom I decided to go back on the High Fat Diet that week which meant dragging myself out for even a ten minute run was miserable – and, while I wore the shirt on that run, it didn’t seem like a particularly good test. Then it got super-hot and I wanted to run in a sleeveless tank, and then I had to wait until I did a couple of longer runs, which, erm, didn’t happen until this weekend! But it’s done now and I have to say I really like the shirt. Here’s why….

1) It makes me laugh: Come on, it’s got Fat Lass at The Back written on it in HUGE letters – how can that not amuse you. But I also like the label that comes with it, that clearly points out that this shirt will not make you go faster – or look like a shrink wrapped chicken. I’ve been noticing recently that health and fitness is getting really po-faced. I’m going to test things and everyone is so serious (while I’m at the back giggling) and social media is becoming a warzone of ‘look how committed I am to being healthy’  – erm, it’s exercise, it’s like playing for grown ups – it’s supposed to be fun people (or you don’t want to do it!). This brings back some of that fun.

Fat Lass At The Back Review

2) It would be a talking point in any race – which is nice. I like it when people talk to me during events – it’s one of the reasons why I only run with one headphone in so should someone strike up a conversation I can have a chat back. Admittedly, sometimes I can’t chat back as I’m in pain/having a brief moment of madness when I decided to go fast/wondering why on earth I decided this running lark was a good idea – and therefore grumpy – but this would be a talking point.

3) It’s incredibly flattering. The range originally started off as Fat Lad At The Back a cycling-wear range for men – founder Yorkshire cyclist Richard decided that most cycling ranges were only for the skinny and so, he wanted to create one for the erm – fuller figure fella. They sourced a supplier in Italy to make good quality kit – and offered it in a range of sizes – but then the ladies wanted in, so they started a women’s cycling range – this the ‘Scarper’ Running Shirt is their first foray into running wear. To determine what size you need you measure your waist and bust and choose the appropriate size. This is important as the range is tapered in at the waist – but flares out so it doesn’t tighten over the stomach. It’s the first piece of kit I think I I’ve found that gives me a waist but doesn’t make me feel fat as it does it (annoyingly The Boyfriend took a rubbish picture of me in it and then got bored trying to take another one, so you’ll have to have this glary selfie with my office in the background to see what I mean!). It’s also just long enough to hide your bum.

fat Lass At The Back review

4) It wears well – by that I mean it doesn’t seem to rub, chafe, ride up, flap about or generally annoy you. The first time I wore it the collar was a bit stiff but a wash sorted that out. The only thing I could potentially see being a tiny problem is the inside of the zipper at the neck which I had to position carefully so it didn’t rub – I could see that possibly causing problems over a very long run like a marathon (when let’s face it, anything even remotely chafey becomes the equivalent of rubbing your skin with glass). It’s also very strokey – the fabric is so soft – which, I admit, is a bit weird, stroking gym kit is not something you should probably confess to online.

5) It comes in some seriously inclusive sizes – I’ve done a lot of interviews with experts talking about reasons why larger people don’t exercise – and one of them is that comfortable kit doesn’t come in big sizes. If you’re trying to run, cycle or even walk – in something that rubs, chafes, scratches and generally makes you feel bad about yourself, it’s an added hurdle. But FLAB (see, even their acronym is tongue in cheek) go up a size 50 bust and a size 46 waist. Admittedly, you’ve got to a have a bit of confidence to have the F word emblazoned on your back, but as Julie over at the Fat Girls Guide To Running proves, there’s a lot of curvy women out there packed with chutzpah and wearing trainers!.

So is everything in the garden perfect….okay, I have to admit there are two things I don’t like 1) It’s not a cheap shirt retailing at £49.99 which goes against my never spending lots of money on kit principles – although I admit, if you do like to spend money on kit I would be worth it. 2) I have to give it back – I’m going to miss it!!

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