Here at GTG given the fact that we’re crazy about all things health and fitness related we just can’t help but love to take a sneak peek into the health habits and exercise schedules of women across the country.
By taking a look into their nutritional tips, motivating mantras and personal fitness goals it helps deliver a dose of inspiration to give us the impetus get up and get going this 2015.
This week we sat down with e-commerce assistant for bespoke jewellery brand Alex Monroe , Amina Khan, to find out what fitness habits float her boat and what words of workout wisdom she had to share.
What’s your overall approach to health, fitness and nutrition?
When it comes to health and fitness, I take a ‘no boundaries’ attitude. I believe you ought to push yourself beyond your comfort zone every time you do something. When I was training for my first marathon, I got injured and turned to boxing to keep my cardio up. I happened to sign up for the mixed class and they had me sparring with men twice my size - but it didn’t put me off one bit. I always regret not giving it my all so I tell myself, just keep pushing or you’ll wish you’d done more!
Nutrition is also really important to me. I try and stick to all the typically good habits of eating greens, sweet potato, no meat, a bit of fish and nuts - but I also enjoy a cake or pastry. I don’t believe in denying yourself something indulgent. Usually once a day I’ll treat myself to a bar of sea salted dark chocolate or even a good old piece of carrot cake. Moderation is key to longevity and people who try to cut out everything too quickly often end up failing as it’s not in line with their usual eating habits and is such a shock to the system. I’ve found that the key is to slowly remove things from your diet until you no longer call it a diet and it just becomes your natural routine.
How much is fitness a priority in your life?
It’s definitely up there. Becoming fitter has allowed me to do so many amazing things that I would never would have been able to achieve had I not got into running. For example, I was invited by Nike to test trial a new trainer in Stockholm, I ran the Paris-Semi and I ran my first marathon in Palestine in 2014. All of these and more have occurred because I took the step forward to better myself. It’s funny because a lot of people see exercise as a chore but It’s the total opposite for me - I see it as more of a necessity. Then I find that being fit and motivated just trickles down and benefits many other aspects of my life.
How do you squeeze fitness in around your busy schedule?
I work as an e-commerce assistant for a jewellery label as well as working part time on my own jewellery, so it can be a bit of a tight squeeze - largely however, it depends on the season. I love the summer because the sun rises at around 6am and I can get up to do a long run before work, which really sets me up for the day. However, in the winter I limit my time running to two to three times a week.
Recently I decided to start running the 10k home after work on Fridays, so I know that I have a guaranteed session at the end of the week. I think there’s a common misconception that fitness has to be an epic one or two hour gym session - but it doesn’t, even if you get home after work and spend 15 minutes doing core work or upper body, that’s time you’re investing in your body and it does add up. I’m a bit of a cheat too as I have a spin bike at home and a mini gym with kettlebells etc, so even if I have a day when I’ve not run or been boxing, I can grab a quick 20 minutes on the spin bike and a further 15 minutes doing core or upper body work. There is always time, you just have to find it!
In a typical week what is your workout schedule and why?
Again it depends on the season but I’ll talk about summer as that’s my busiest time. On a Monday morning I’ll do a two a three mile run to warm up and some track sprints of 400m and 100m. On Tuesday I start with another morning run of 20 minutes at a quick pace followed by an hours boxing session in the evening. On Wednesday I do yoga after work for an 1hr 30 mins. Thursday is usually a hilly run before work or a five mile run after work. Friday is my rest day. On Saturday I try to do a long run of at least 7 miles and finally on Sunday I’ll do a morning gym session, followed by two hours of football training.
Every activity I partake in I love - I always say if it doesn’t bring you happiness, don’t do it and find something you love to help motivate you to turn up. Typically I despise gyms but I’ve found a small one that is rarely busy and I get to use their weight machines - there is always compromise when it comes to fitness, you just have to find it.
What’s your personal motivational mantra?
When I really don’t feel like doing something I try to remember the feeling of not doing it and it’s a lot worse - you only regret the workouts you don’t do…
What tips would you give anyone look to train for a 10K or half marathon?
Well definitely don’t do what I did and give yourself a month to train for your first 10k or just four weeks to train for your first half marathon. Firstly, you just need to get out there and put one foot in front of another. Set yourself small targets of running for 15 minutes non-stop, or maybe decide you will loop the park three times, walk for five minutes and do it again. Find a routine you are comfortable with and then set yourself a schedule - you can even start making a note of your time to help track your progress. Once you start seeing improvements in your running you’ll want to take it further and will start looking into your nutrition and if you’re wearing the right shoes etc. For your first anything however, don’t worry about pace. Just concentrate on finishing and enjoying it. The atmosphere of any race is so electrifying - if it’s not the crowd behind you, it’s your fellow runners. That’s why running is so special to me, it’s like a big club that anyone can join.
To keep up with Amina’s fitness journey follow her Instagram