‘Inspiring Women’ Talk at ITV, MediaCityUK

Above image from campaignlive.co.uk

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Photo by Joanna Lewis

They say you should do one thing every day that scares you. And on Wednesday I threw myself into something new: Motivational speaking. I actually felt really calm and collected, thanks to feeling well prepared with my PowerPoint presentation, and smashing out a yoga session in the morning.

I delivered a talk about my journey so far in Fitness, Music & Wellbeing. I loved every minute!

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It is truly fantastic that the Women’s Network at ITV, MediaCity are hosting these lunchtime motivational speaking events. Members of staff from all over MediaCity (ITV, BBC, Kellogg’s) came along to see me speak about my work that empowers people to start gym based exercise, train independently and feel amazing, and how they can motivate themselves to do the same.

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Photo by Joanna Lewis

I was given a microphone to clip to my collar. I told the wonderfully cooperative tech support cameraman Mark where I would like to stand with regard to being filmed. Then I learned just before going live that the talk would also be on livestream for all members of staff across the ITV network who wanted to watch it from their desks! What an incredible feeling.

I started the talk with the words “It is my job to inspire people, and if I can inspire one person in this room to start engaging in physical activity, or one person to finally start using the gym membership that they pay for every month and never use, then my work here is done!”

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I spoke about where I get all my energy from: Music. I spoke about my love of dancing from an early age, lurking around record shops from the age of 15, and dancing on stage with Basement Jaxx at the Manchester Apollo aged 17. Also my work in radio, drumming in the band Womb (2011) and going on tour with my current band ILL (2012 – now), releasing our album last year and much more. I spoke about my unconventional route into regular exercise, and my career in fitness and wellbeing that followed.

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Listeners heard about the fact that I love my job, working as a full time fitness instructor, Zumba instructor, and personal trainer at Manchester Met, delivering one on one PT sessions to students who are struggling with mental health. The success of the Exercises Referral Scheme has been brilliant so far. I shared feedback from students.

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Photo by Molly Darlington

I spoke about working to raise awareness about important campaigns such as Mental Health Awareness Week, and This Girl Can:

With regard to inspiring others, I mentioned the expression “If you see one, you can be one.” (Referenced recently by Cerys Matthews on her brilliant BBC Radio 6 Music show) and I invited the audience to think about people in their lives who inspire them, and how they can put what they see into practice.

Then came the PowerPoint slides about 3 badass women in my life who *really* inspire me.

I spoke about the serious health benefits of Zumba, yoga, weightlifting and I noticed people making notes. YES PEOPLE! Then came the part where I spoke about how different types of exercise have significantly enhanced my mind, body and soul, and how grateful I am right now.

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Photo by Nigel Maitland

Fantastic questions at the end too. Thank you so much for having me Helen and your wonderful team! STILL BUZZING!

BUCS This Girl Can Week at MMU Sport

If this blog post inspires ONE female to get more physically active – whether completely new to fitness, or having not hit gym in a few months – my work here is done.

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Photo credit: This Girl Can

We all know that exercise is good for us, for so many reasons. See here, here and here.

This week at MMU Sport, we are celebrating BUCS This Girl Can Week. We’ve been encouraging female students and staff at Manchester Met to attend at least one Active Campus session this week (and hopefully beyond).

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Today we are throwing a free ROLLER DISCO party to close the week with a bang for all female students and staff! More about my love for roller discos later, but first up, This Girl Can.

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Photo credit: This Girl Can

Not familiar with This Girl Can? Where have you been?! Get ready to get fired up with pure body positive fitness inspiration and motivation, with LIFE-AFFIRMING video footage of real women really working out and thoroughly enjoying themselves!

Sport England conducted research soon after their first This Girl Can campaign, to see how many women and girls had been inspired to take part in physical activity, and the results were astounding.

Their first video (above) was soundtracked by Missy Elliott’s iconic Get UR Freak On. Top marks from me! Also, every woman should read about Missy’s feminist legacy. Period.

 

Then there was the This Girl Can: Phenomenal Women video campaign, soundtracked by the late and incredible writer Maya Angelou reciting her Phenomenal Woman poem. These campaign videos invigorate me with a powerful ‘I can do this’ feeling, significantly more so than any movie montage or fitness magazine I’ve ever seen.

There are many reasons why many women and girls don’t automatically feel like they want to start engaging in exercise, but sometimes all they need is a little bit of inspiration. I am so grateful that a big part of my work at MMU Sport is empowering female students and staff with high energy and enjoyable fitness classes at Manchester Met. We had high participation for my F.I.T Classes during BUCS This Girl Can Week on Tuesday night!

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Many of the participants were asking about the free roller disco, HAPPENING TODAY 14:00-16:00 at Sugden Sports Centre. I’ve compiled an awesome playlist to get people people moving this afternoon!

So how about some roller skating inspo? HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO JOIN THIS GIRL SKATE GANG?! I know I do!

I’d give anything to travel back in time to a Saturday night roller disco in the 70s, but hey ho, I will settle for a roller disco in the now. There’s no time like the present! There’s a lot to be said for roller staking in this day in age. Look at the wild popularity of roller derby! And if you’re not yet familiar with roller derby, the Whip It movie is a decent introduction. And follow Ellen Page and Juliette Lewis on Instagram. Do it. Now.

Shout out to Manchester’s finest: The Rainy City Roller Girls!

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Still not sure if you want to get involved in the roller disco at Sugden Sports Centre today? If you don’t like contact sports, don’t let roller derby put you off, the roller disco is all about skating around to great music. The only thing that roller derby and roller discos have in common is the focus on skating around in circles on classic quad skates, and having a lot of fun!

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Photo from skatehut

There will be pro roller skaters giving demonstrations today at Sugden, so beginners are totally welcome. They might even show you a few tricks too!

I AM SO EXCITED!

Last thing, if you are new to exercise and want to give it a try, here are my Top 10 pieces of advice!

1) Have a think about your health and fitness goals. For example: Get stronger, increase overall fitness level, tone up… Write them down, and revisit them in 2 months.

2) Start an exercise diary. It sounds time consuming, but if you can keep a note of things like time elapsed and distance travelled on the treadmill for instance, you will start to notice that your time and distance are becoming more and more impressive as you get fitter and stronger! Or keep it simple, just make a note of how you feel before and after working out.

3) If you’re interested in gym based exercise, shop around and join a gym. Hit the gym regularly to enhance your fitness level, and to get your money’s worth.

4) If you don’t want to train in a gym, you can do YouTube workouts in your bedroom. You can train outdoors. But if you do, think of your safety, and if possible, go running with a friend, or a running club. Or start up your own squad!

5) Research sports clubs in your area. You might be surprised. There are a lot of people LIVING for regular exercise, making all kinds of physical activity happen, quite probably, close to where you live.

6) If you’re new to a sports club, fitness class, or gym, tell the instructor. They will probably tell you to take it at your own pace, to give them a shout if you don’t understand anything, and to enjoy it! If you have any injuries or health implications that might affect exercise, ask your GP. Tell the instructor about any injuries or difficulties, and they can tell you which exercises to avoid, and what to do instead.

7) Ask questions. Everyone has to start somewhere, and using the correct technique will help you reduce risk of injuring yourself or others, and you’ll get the most out of your training.

8) Be realistic. Many social media posts can be drastically unhelpful. It’s not physically possible to “Get your summer body in 2 weeks.” For a start, your body is already “beach ready”, whatever it looks like! But if you want to tone up and get muscular definition, you need to be training 3 times a week. Toning comes from weight training, resistance training and bodyweight training, which create tension in the muscles. You can lose tension in days, so keep the training regular. As the saying goes with regard to muscular toning, USE IT OR LOSE IT!

It can take up to 6 weeks of regular training to really start to see and feel results. But when you start to see and feel the difference, all that hard work is so worth it!

9) Don’t wait until all of the annual “You ate too much over the festive season” get-fit-hype everywhere you look in January. Why not start now and hit the ground running?!

10) Give yourself a pat on the back, and be kind to yourself. If you need rest, listen to your body and rest. Rest days are just as important as working out, so that your body can recover and you can bounce back into your next training session with more energy.

I could go on, talking about the importance of eating a nutritionally balanced diet (including treating yourself), training to enhance your life and not as punishment for eating unhealthily, and bigging up Yoga With Adriene on YouTube (she’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G) but stay tuned for future posts!

Must go, I’d better get my skates on…

Amy questions, get in touch!

 

Tomorrow I’m leading a DANCE-A-THON at the Spice Girls Exhibition!!!

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Last Sunday I walked around SpiceUp, the brilliant exhibition of Spice Girls clothing, records and memorabilia at Manchester Central. It brought back so many happy memories of my sister (age 7) and I (age 10) collecting the sticker books, making up dance moves to Who Do You Think You Are, and watching the Spice Girls VHS on repeat. The Spice Girls made us feel like we could be confident, loud, proud and have fun. Their music is so uplifting, it is a real honour to be creating a dance / fitness extravaganza where people can dance together to their favourite Spice Girls hits!

I am absolutely thrilled to have been telling everyone I know that tomorrow (Sunday 2nd September at 4pm) I will be leading a 30 minute high energy DANCE-A-THON to back to back Spice Girls tracks. Everyone is welcome to attend, get involved and/or watch, and cheer us on. Everyone is encouraged to sing their hearts out too!

Of course, we will be doing warm up exercises at the start, to If You Can’t Dance, to get everyone psyched up and ready for action (cue Mel C’s high kick) and then the all important cool down stretches to the more relaxed tones of 2 Become 1, to reduce muscle soreness the following day.  It’s recommended that all dancers come early and stay for the full 30 minutes!

I’ve really enjoyed the choreography process this week. As a fully qualified Fitness Instructor and Zumba Instructor, who LOVES DANCING, I’ve incorprated all of the original Spice Girls iconic chorus dance moves, along with aerobic and toning exercises. The session will be a real workout and a highly enjoyable one too!

The exhibition is fantastic. Congratulations Alan Smith-Allison and everyone involved. It’s great to see all the 90s fashions, and iconic outfits that were seen all over the planet. And who knew that there were so many different kinds of Spice Girls dolls made and circulated in different countries?!

I urge all Spice Girls fans to go on one of the guided tours with the oh-so-fabulous and knowledgaeable Alex Lodge. He has met every single Spice Girl, he knows his facts, and he will blow your mind!

So bring your dancing shoes (PLATFORMS AND HIGH HEELS MUST BE TAKEN OFF FOR THE DANCE SESSION!) bring some water and come and have a dance! All fitness levels and abilities welcome. All ages welcome. Tickets are available here. Get to Manchester Central early so you can have a look round, come find the DANCE-A-THON inside the exhibition space, and get down!

SAY YOU’LL BE THERE!