5 things you need in your gymbag
THAT’S MY GOAL
While you’re unlikely to ever attain the heights of an elite sportsperson, it doesn’t hurt to aspire to jog 26.2 miles or swim, cycle and run to the best of your ability in a triathlon.
Sarah Gilchrist is the technical lead in physiology at the English Institute of Sport, which was set up in 2002 to provide sports science and medical support to elite athletes. She argues that there are direct parallels between the athlete and your average office worker: ‘It’s still the human body, but you need to adapt to your level; don’t suddenly think you’re Mo Farah.
‘Firstly, I’d suggest going to a physio for an MOT to find out any weaknesses and imbalances in your body. Then set yourself a realistic time frame for your goal. If you’re used to running three or four miles, you can build that engine up. And mix up your training. If you’re running four or five times a week, do some cross-training one of those days instead.’
Recovery is also important, explains Sarah. ‘It’s vital to have a window to get some carbs in you in the first 30 minutes after exercise, but avoid stodgy foods at lunch. Sleep is key, too. If you’re a napper then nap. If not, don’t force it, just go and get some fresh air.’
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
It’s not just on the track where performance is paramount. That’s how Planet K2 came about; set up by a group of psychologists working with the British Olympic and Paralympic teams, they’re now taking that experience into the work place. Among them is Katherine Bond, the lead psychologist for the British Paralympic Association.
‘This stuff is 100% transferable to the corporate world,’ she says. ‘The working world is, in many ways, faster paced than the sporting one, and how you consistently perform on a day-to-day basis is essential.’
While the advice is psychological, it also relates to rest and recovery. Katherine adds: ‘People need to see the value in the work place of resting up, switching off, exercising.’
CHARITY STARTS AT THE GYM
Need a new water bottle for the gym? The elegant Sho water bottles (£16.99) don’t only keep your water cold for 24 hours, but also 10% of the company’s profits are donated to Mary’s Meals, a charity that feeds children worldwide.
EAR WE GO, EAR WE GO…
If you lack workout motivation, try this Urbanears On-the-spot headset (£89). Running will never be monotonous again. The earbuds snugly fit into place for inspired music or hands-free calls, while reflective design give extra visibility at night.
Goodbye hefty bag-hogging bedsheets, hello sleek and stylish gym towels. This Lightweight Microfibre Lululemon Towel (£38) is absorbent and chic, and its antimicrobial additive helps prevent bacteria.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that’s essential to the body’s performance. It transports fats into the cells to be used for energy. Solgar’s L-Carnitine Liquid (£21.75) offers optimal absorption.
Project Awesome is a free fitness group, which takes place in London among other cities, and describes itself as ‘unashamedly inclusive, loud, proud, high-energy, free fitness initiative that’s currently brightening up life’. It takes place on Mondays (at various locations), Wednesdays (at The Scoop by City Hall) and Fridays (at the Viewing Point at Primrose Hill) each week for an hour from 6.30am.
Read more: How healthiness will make you happier