week 20 : what have I been learning about this week? Plus the trials and tribulations of a Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur in training

Here goes… week 20 began with more group training sessions last Sunday followed by a lovely day out at Malton Food Festival with my sister. It was the second year which I have been and it is a great way to spend a few hours, especially seeing as though the weather was so brilliant still last weekend. We sampled quite a lot of different offerings, from cheese to chutney, from brownies to ciders. It is made up of lots of different local sellers, food trucks and a large drinks tent. There are also demonstrations and talks on over the course of the weekend.

Malton Food Lovers festival 2017

For lunch we had a mexican tortilla bowl with pulled pork and chicken, it was delicious. Then of course we had to make a visit to Groovy Moos for an ice cream! This is simply the best ice cream which you will taste, and i should know as somewhat of an ice cream connoisseur. I had to use the opportunity to try out a couple of new flavours, rhubarb and custard as well as coconut and white chocolate. Beautifully indulgent!

Groovy Moos ice cream Malton

Bank holiday Monday was just a usual day for me, full of clients at the gym, although it was an earlier finish which meant that Laura could come over for tea and to discuss holiday plans! We were hoping to be able  to get away this week for a last minute sunshine break, but unfortunately couldn’t find anything. It is only 8 weeks until August when we are hoping to get something booked for Croatia and Montenegro. Has anyone been? If so, any recommendations?

After a few cancellations last week, this week has been the complete  opposite! Not one person has text to rearrange or postpone, which has meant another crazy week for me! The past couple of weeks I have blocked out Wednesday evenings from the gym. I was finding that after Monday and Tuesday, i was snowballing into the weekend without any time to get on with client plans, and business in general. Just by taking this evening away from the gym, I am able to set up at the laptop and just get on a roll and get stuff done! It has certainly helped not only my organisation, planning and business, but also my mind by giving me that mental break.

Speaking of business, I was able to speak to somebody who is much cleverer and more experienced than me in regards to my Youtube channel. It is something which I have been working on for a while but growth has been slow, and if I have struggled to get to grips with some parts of it. It was so kind of this person to give up their time in order to help me on some things and I now feel much better about certain things and how to create better videos in the future which people will find more enjoyable and useful (fingers crossed anyways!) Speaking of which, I vlogged the whole weekend last weekend and would love you to head on over to my Youtube channel and check out the full video! Link here. Any comments, i would love to hear from you!

I was writing a Facebook post about reasons why I became a Personal Trainer, and it ended up turning into a full blog post which  I published. Check it out here. 

abi durrant fitness

I have had some really good training sessions this week, whether it is the realisation that it is only 8 weeks until I put on a bikini or whether I have found some internal motivation from somewhere else, I don’t know but I am not complaining! I also found a photo on my phone from July 2015, this is the look which I am going to try and reach once again this year….well we shall see! Diet wise, it has been a bit up and down, a mini binge episode on Tuesday evening followed by 4 pretty good days. I know what I need to do, just sometimes the ice cream and chocolate scream at me from behind their respective doors. If this is something which you suffer from, I have a video on my top tips for getting over a binge here. 

Right, what have been learning in week 20?

28th: Peas are actually a fruit as they grow from a seed and picked above ground.

29th: A captain can deliver a baby or marry people.

30th: A group of parrots is called a Pandemonium.

31st: By the end of this century, 70% of all known cold water corals in the entire ocean will be surrounded by sea water which is so acidic that it will be dissolving their coral structure.

June 1st: Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the Danube river with the unification of Buda and Óbuda on the west bank, with Pest on the east bank in 1873.

2nd: Today was National Fish and Chip Day. There are around 10,500 fish and chips shops in the UK. Ninety years ago there were 35,000.

3rd: The Champions League was introduced in 1992 and replaced the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, or simply European Cup. The pre-1992 competition was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each country

I can’t believe we are up to week 20 already, I have just updated my photo a day for the year and that is now over 100! Crazy!

Love Abi xxxx

 

Week 19 : The trials and tribulations of  Personal Trainer/Entrepreneur ‘in training’

Week 19 began after a whistle stop 30hour trip to Stockholm in order to see Bruno Mars in concert at the Globe Arena. My friend Laura really wanted to go and see him, so as non of the UK dates were possible for us both, we investigated whether it would be possible to jump on a plane and see him elsewhere; hence why we ended up in Sweden’s capital for the night. He was incredible live. I wasn’t all that fussed about seeing him to be honest, but he surpassed my expectations and then some.

Stockholm is a beautiful city, and we were extremely lucky with the weather, sunshine and 24 degrees meant just walking around the city was so lovely and pleasant. We stayed on a boat. Yes you read that right. Our hostel was STF AF Chapman, an old ship which had been renovated and is now a hostel! Our ‘cabin’ was bunk beds. It was such a lovely setting on the water, spotlessly clean and certainly an experience. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Stockholm, check them out for sure! People had told me it would be expensive, and all I will say is I am glad we were only staying one night! But the people, the food (see restaurant recommendations down below!) and the ambience were fabulous and I would highly recommend to anyone (just make sure you have some deep pockets!)

stf af chapman

The weather has been absolutely beautiful in England this week, unfortunately I think I have only managed about 40 minutes sat outside though due to work and clients. However just having the back door open and the sunshine streaming in has been so nice and my mood certainly alters with the weather. I walked to work and back for the first time this year and it is something which I need to start doing more. Just the simple act of popping on a podcast and 10 minutes in the fresh air does wonders for me.

I don’t know whether it was the sunshine or just one of those weeks but I had more than a few client cancellations this week. This is quite rare for me. It makes me question everything and probably gets to me a lot more than it should. There is usually a valid reason for the cancellations and they do all get rebooked in again, but it just reminds me not to get too complacent as this is my livelihood, if I don’t have clients then I don’t get paid. It has forced me to really think about my business model this week and what I could be doing better to ensure things like this don’t affect me as much.

Speaking of business, I have been working away at planning for my group sessions which took place again in week 19. More new faces amongst returning regulars has been brilliant. I put so much pressure on myself to make these sessions amazing, waking up in the middle of the night fretting and worrying that they won’t be good enough and people will leave disappointed. When planning I can sometimes just stare at a piece of paper for hours and not get anywhere, but then other times inspiration will take over and I will come up with something which I am proud of.

I really do enjoy putting these sessions on. The ability to be able to get in front of and help more people is one of my goals. Without giving too much away, there may be something on a larger scale in the pipeline sometime soon…..

Week 19 was rounded up by an extremely proud moment for myself. My sister was home this weekend and took part in her very first powerlifting competition; Lift for Cancer at Scarborough Spa. Hannah has been training for this for months and she did absolutely brilliantly. It was a Bench Press and Deadlift only competition. There were a couple of hiccups in the Bench Press, but she came away with a 42.5kg lift which is brilliant. In the afternoon, she hit a new PB of 125kg on the deadlift which was one of her goals so we were both incredibly happy and chuffed. I train Hannah online, she is probably one of the best clients I have in terms of adherence and following a plan! But seeing her succeed and being so happy got me all emotional.

I am so proud of her.”

lift for cancer

What have I been learning in week 19?

21st: There is a car accident every 18 seconds in Barcelona

22nd: In 1903, Australia became the second country in the world to grant the vote to women, New Zealand was the first, granting it in 1893.

23rd: One in every three people sitting in jail in Berlin are there because they didn’t pay their fare on transport system.

24th: 95% of black people who go to Ivy League Universities in America come from Africa for their further education.

25th: 60% of the US population have less than $1000 in savings. 60% of NBA professional basketball players go bankrupt once they have retired. 40% of divorces in America cite money problems as one of the main reasons.

26th: Nestle uses a different chocolate recipe in each one of its chocolate bars.

27th: The most expensive flower in the world is the Kadupul Flower which is only found in Sri Lanka. It is a white flower which blossoms at night and survives mere hours, meaning catching even a glimpse of it is next to impossible. This near-mythical species has never been up for sale, making it literally priceless.

Love Abi xxxx

This week has been tinged with huge sadness after the events of Monday night at Manchester arena. All acts of terrorism are completely barbaric, but this one certainly seemed to hit home and affect me a lot more. The number of concerts I have been to at that venue and used that exit to get out, I would have been in that exact spot had I been to see Ariana Grande that night. A concert is supposed to be a fun night, an evening enjoyed with friends and family, not something which we will forever be worried about going to. Frightful of what may or may not happen. My heart is heavy thinking about the number of lost lives and their affected families. May they rest in peace. 

Stockholm Restaurant recommendations:

Barrels, Burgers and Beers: We had one of the best burgers I think I have ever had at this little restaurant in the old town of Stockholm. It was hugely popular but luckily we got there early and were able to get a seat without much waiting! You can also get your burgers ‘naked’ i.e. without the bun and served up in a huge lettuce leaf.

week 19 update - greasy spoon stockholm

The Greasy Spoon: This little cafe is run by two english guys who saw a gap in the market for a proper breakfast in Stockholm, and it most definitely is not what you think of when you hear or see the words ‘greasy spoon’! We had read reviews online and knew that this was the place for us. Serving up classics like Eggs Benedict or your full english, but with a modern twist, this hugely popular spot was just great. There was a waiting list when we arrived so we knew it must be good. I had the Eggs Florentine and then we shared the Apple Pie pancakes special. Hunt this place down!

Pharmarium: Fancy a cocktail to remember in a backstreet swanky bar? Then this is your place. We found this little gem out after the concert for a late nightcap. The bar also serves food, but the cocktail menu will blow your mind. I don’t think I recognised over half of the ingredients on the list, but on recommendation from one of the waiters I opted for what would be ‘The Best Espresso Martini you will ever have!’ After the first sip, I agreed. Must visit for sure if you are in Stockholm!

Learn Something new everyday – week ending 1st April 2017

A two week catch up on what I have learnt recently….

19th: We use 150litres on water on average per person per day.

20th: Amazon Prime subscribers spend over double the amount per year on the website than non prime purchasers.

21st: When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, it was the largest acquisition of an Internet start up in history.

22nd: A new billionaire is created every 6 days in the US.

23rd: Sheep on average give birth to 2 lambs per year.

24th: Don’t attempt to turn your laptop on after spilling water on it.

25th: My Dad has visited over 40 away football grounds!

26th: It takes 8 weeks from planting courgette seeds to harvesting.

27th: The average millionaire has seven different sources of income!

28th: Article 50 is a plan for any country that wishes to exit the EU. It was created as part of the Treaty of Lisbon – an agreement signed up to by all EU states which became law in 2009.

29th: Olives must be cured in order to reduce their bitterness. There is 115 calories per 100g. They are also a high antioxidant food.

30th: Every star you see in the sky is bigger and brighter than our sun.

31st: FSCS stands for Financial Services Compensation Scheme. It is he UK’s statutory compensation scheme for customers of authorised financial services firms. Ie it will pay out your money if a firm cannot.

1st April: The top 10 fastest growing cities are all in Africa. India, China and Nigeria – together are expected to account for 37 per cent of the projected growth of the world’s urban population by 2050

Sorry for the delay but laptop issues were to blame! I am back on track now!

Love Abi xxxx

Learn something new everyday | week ending 18/3/17

You can certainly tell what types of books I have been reading and listening to this past week! I have been learning all about how our mind works from the book ‘The Chimp Paradox’ by Dr Steve Peters. This is a fascinating book which I would highly recommend you check out. When I uploaded a photo of it to Instagram, I was shocked at the high amount of feedback from people who have read it and said it had a huge impact on them! I have been aiming to read this and learn something each day for around 30  minutes at a time.

the chimp paradox

The other book which I have been listening to is ‘Unshakeable’ by Tony Robbins. Tony Robbins is a hugely successful business man from the US. I only downloaded this book to my audible account after getting one of those recommendation emails, I didn’t even read what it was about! It is about investing in stocks and shares and how to make the biggest return on your investment. To some this may sound super boring, however I have found it so interesting. I tend to listen to audio books when I am driving but I have been putting this on at home as well when I have been cooking just to get my fix everyday. It is something which I don’t know very much about so it is all pretty new to me. It is on my #30B430 list to invest in something so who knows, this could be what I have a go at!

unshakeable - tony robbins

12th: 1 in 150 have psychopath tendencies wired into their brains

13th: If your mind gets the wrong first impression upon meeting somebody, research shows it will take seven more meetings with that person before it changes your view!

14th: If we don’t like someone that we meet, our pupils tend to get smaller.

15th: A human’s attention span is now shorter than a goldfish

16th: Bear and Bull markets refer to the state of the current stock market. Bear market = conditions fall and there is a pessimistic outlook. Bull market = stocks on the rise and there is much more optimism.

17th: We go through our days roughly 80% in automatic mode.

18th: The Tax Free ISA savings limit for 2016/2017 is £15,240.

I am always looking for new book recommendations, so if you have any then send them my way!

Love Abi xxxx

 

What I have learnt from 50 days of meditation using the Headspace app.

Headspace is an app which you can download to your phone if you would like to take up the practice of meditation. It is something which I became interested in after hearing so many successful entrepreneurs and people in general speak so highly of the benefits of meditation each day. A lot of people attribute their success and happiness to this daily practice.

headspace app review

I have had a few question on how this app has helped me, if it has even helped me at all. Therefore I thought it best to do a blog post on my experiences so far.

This morning was day 52 of using the headspace app, I am yet to miss a day since I downloaded the app.

You can download Headspace from the app store and get a 10 day free trial to see whether it is something you want to commit to doing and paying for. After the 10 days are over it is then £7.99 every month to have access to the full Headspace collection.

I have suffered from anxiety in the past, a feeling of not being good enough, my thoughts taking over everything so that I feel paralysed from doing anything at all. I get overwhelmed very easily with things I have to do, or things which I am told I should be doing. I get moments of panic pretty often where I just cannot focus on anything and want to retreat into my own little bubble.

After reading on how meditation and mindfulness had helped so many people I thought it would be worth a shot, I had nothing to lose from having a go at the 10 day free trial which Headspace were offering.

headspace app review

The Free Trial

The first 10 days are like an introduction as you would imagine. You are asked to sit down at roughly the same time every day as you are guided through some breathing exercises and though processes. When describing these to people it sounds so simple, somebody with a calming voice just telling you when to breathe, how is that going to help?

I cant explain fully how this helped but it did. I was able to use the breathing technique throughout the day during periods when I could feel myself getting stressed or anxious. In fact I started doing so without even realising it. 10 breaths and then repeat.

You are told to try and repeat this daily at the same time in order to create a habit.

Andy, the narrator, has such a calming voice, but not in an irritating way. You feel comforted by him and feel like you trust what he is saying to you.

I was still zoning in and out at this point, but rather than tell you off or aggressively get you to refocus, you are told to recognise that the mind has wandered and just bring it back to the present moment and focus on what you are supposed to be doing.

Signing up

I knew something was working but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was and therefore decided to stick at it and sign up for the full collection. It was doing any harm so why not keep going and see how I get on?

The full introduction period is actually 30 days long, therefore I had a further 20 days to go through before actually gaining access to the different collections. This wasn’t a problem to me as I still felt like a newbie so wanted to continue this process before exploring the other areas.

I did it one morning whilst on a weekend away in Harrogate with Laura next to me. She agreed that it was calming yet thought it would send her to sleep if done whilst tired. I was

I was still struggling to remain focused for the full 10 minutes, you find your mind wandering and thinking about your day. What clients did I have in, had I done everything in preparation, what did I need to get at Morrisons. But as soon as I realised my thoughts had wandered I could bring it back rather than just giving up.

Choosing a series

Once the 30 days is up you can choose a series to follow from the Headspace collection. These include FOCUS, SPORT, HEALTH, RELATIONSHIPS, PERFORMANCE, FOCUS. I chose focus as this is an area I know i struggle with.

This series has definitely been more of a struggle for me in terms of remaining present for the full 10 minutes. I find my mind wandering a bit more. I don’t know whether this is down to the choice of series, or whether I was simply not ready to leave the introduction stage.

In this series of meditations you are told to find certain points throughout the day to practice little things, but I just completely forget until it is mentioned the next morning so that is something which I need to work on.

I will continue though and reach the end before selecting a different series to concentrate on.

headspace app review

What have I learnt?

Do something everyday and you will create a habit.
I practice my Headspace app every morning at 5am. I make my first coffee of the day, do the 10minutes, and then get on with my day. I made a point of doing it every day, no matter whether I had other things which I knew needed doing. Now I feel like it is just a habit and I don’t think about it. Even whilst travelling I have been able to keep it up – not at 5am – but I have still made a point of completing the 10 minutes.

You do have a spare 10 minutes in the day.
No matter what you think, you can find 10 minutes out of your day. Those 10 minutes you spend aimlessly scrolling social media, or watching crap on TV, or catching up with the latest celebrity gossip online? Use those 10 minutes in a more productive manner and you will feel so much better for it. They say that if you don’t think you have a spare 10 minutes then you need it more than most!

Taking time to breath is so important
When I feel myself getting anxious or stressed during the day, I have automatically paused to breathe before reacting. I have done this without even thinking about it.

10 minutes goes by really quickly
You would think that 10 minutes just sat listening to an app with your eyes closed would go on forever. It doesn’t, before you know it Andy is telling you to open your eyes and get on with your day!

Do what works for you
There are lots of ways to meditate and become more mindful. This is one way which I have found to help my daily consciousness and I feel like I am able to commit to it.

The benefits of just showing up
Not every day has been a success. Some mornings my whole 10 minutes has been spent worrying about the day ahead, or flitting between thoughts and not being able to concentrate at all on what I am being told to do. But I still feel good for showing up and trying instead of just giving up or not even attempting it. This idea of showing up no matter what can be transferred over into other life occurrences.

Something has worked
I cant pinpoint exactly how it has benefitted me but I feel different in some way. I have found that I am less reactive, for example instead of snapping at my sister or Mum for doing something I have consciously been able to stop myself and think before speaking which has avoided negativity and fallings out. Like i mentioned above, even just focusing on my breathing throughout the day has helped.

Meditation doesn’t mean sitting on a floor with your legs crossed chanting
Meditation and mindfullness will mean different things to different people. Some people can do it for an hour, some people only 5 minutes. It is about what works for you. For me, Headspace has just been about taking time out to reflect and breathe before getting on with my day.

Will it work for you?

I don’t know. All I can tell you about are my experiences and how it has helped me. But don’t just take my word for it, do some research and hear about what other people have to say:

Huffington Post Review

Forbes – 7 ways meditation can actually change the brain

10 Outrageously successful people who practice meditation

5 of the best Meditation Apps

There are other apps available, I know a few people like the ‘Calm’ app too. But you have nothing to lose by giving the free trial a go and seeing how you get on.

If you have any questions at all feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer them!

Love Abi xxxx