Caroline Lucey, founder of activewear store Active In Style, on the wellness trends that are getting her and her fitness-forward team excited
The activewear and athleisure trend is becoming even more of an everyday fashion statement outside of the gym. Nowadays, it’s hard to tell if someone wearing gym gear actually intends to go to the gym or not. In Australia, where I worked before setting up Active In Style, they’ve been doing it for years, but it’s so exciting to see more people adopting this trend in the UK. It’s becoming more and more acceptable to wear your kit out and about, even to the office. These are some of the brands we at Active In Style are excited about:
The athleisure pieces in this current range will take you from workout to brunch in effortless style. With khaki and wet-look fabrics on the fashion radar this year, we can’t stop obsessing over XO Active's seriously on-trend autumnal colour palette. Fresh out of New York, via Sydney, this lustrous new label is exclusive to Active in Style in the UK and Europe.
The hottest new addition to the ‘fitfam’ has launched. If you haven’t heard of Athletic Propulsion Lab before, they are simply the most badass kicks in town. These guys, we think, are the manufacturers of the world’s finest athletic footwear and they have every hot celeb in town wearing it, Chloe and Kim Kardashian, Olivia Palermo and Oprah Winfrey to name a few! Founded by 23-year-old twins Ryan and Adam Goldston from San Francisco, the brand is all about the intersection of technology, performance and fashion. Side note: they engineered a shoe that literally makes you jump higher (proven as in the US they were banned from the National Basketball Association - the NBA in 2010).
The epitome of sports luxe fashion, Koral is known in the biz to push the boundaries with their out-of-this-world leggings that suck, tuck and make you feel unstoppable. The Lustrous Legging , £83, is worn to death by Alessandra Ambrosio most likely due to their ‘every style’ appeal, whether you are jumping on a long haul flight, running to the shops, meeting the girls for coffee, or working out.
With a cult following in Australia, P.E. Nation is the brainchild of two mega Aussie fashion designers, Pip Edwards and Clare Tregoning. With all-round cool chick Edwards fronting the label, we instantly knew we would be in for a treat when she announced she was making a foray from designing for Sass & Bide, Ksubi and General Pants Co into activewear. The designs are inspired by the PE lessons of our schoolyard days (hence the name) with sleek looks in primary and bold colours, the use of elastication and feminine, fitted designs.
How we are eating
We are by no means experts in this field, but being in the wellness industry, we have so many amazing friends who give us tips. There is so much conflicting advice out there, it’s no wonder that we’re all a little confused when it comes to fuelling our bodies. At Active in Style, we believe that good health and nutrition aren’t always the easiest or cheapest things to achieve, but they are what we strive for. This year more than ever, we have already seen a shift in what’s said to be good for us and what’s not. We’ve noticed a move away from juice cleanses, calorie counting and ‘clean eating’, towards a focus on eating good quality, unprocessed foods that benefit your body rather than those that aid weight loss. Our friends, the Hemsley sisters, outlined their views on the subject in an Evening Standard article which we highly recommend. Read it here.
We believe it’s much better to eat your protein and fibre from whole fruits rather than in the form of juices or smoothies, to you avoid the blood sugar spikes from consuming too much fruit juice in one go. We’re swapping our morning smoothies or juices for eggs, spinach and chili this year to see whether we notice a difference to our energy levels and cravings over the day.
We’re also learning to track our macros. If you’re new to this concept, it involves consuming a certain proportion of your diet in the form of protein, carbs and fat depending on your level of activity. There are so many amazing trainers that can help you get started. I’ve been working with Courtney Pruc e, an online coach who can create your very own program. She keeps you accountable and is a great motivator.
The fitness challenges we’re up for
This year, we’re looking forward to seeing more fitness festivals. Balance Festival from 12th to 14th May, is just one to mention and is new to London. The festival is spread out over a weekend with an urban triathlon through the city, involving a run, a cycle and yoga. You can enter in the tri or simply come along to the festival. We will be there all weekend with a preview of our 2017 collection, exclusives, competitions, and lots of other fun stuff.
The tech we’re tracking
Tracking fitness levels was something previously left to PTs and scientists, but it is now accessible to everyone. We find it so motivating to see the actual numbers changing the more we get a sweat on. We love the FitBit Charge 2, £113.99, Misfit Shine £79.99 and the Apple Watch 2 , from £369; it’s never been easier to track your day and set measurable goals.
But what will be the biggest innovations to land this year? The Skulpt Chisel £79.99 is the newest contender, promising to give you the ultimate insight into how your body is performing. This amazing piece of tech uses small electrical impulses to measure the density of both your body fat and your muscle quality (that's the force your muscles can produce relative to their size). Best part? It’s only £79.99 and you can assess yourself daily to track your results and stay motivated.
Another gadget we can’t wait to get our hands on is the Samsung Gear Fit2 sports watch, £179.99, an innovative fitness-aimed tracker with giant screens the and Samsung Gear IconX wireless Bluetooth headphones, £159. The earbuds can provide data such as heart rate, distance, speed, duration and calories burned through the voice guide, even without a smartphone.
We’ve been dabbling in fitness and health apps since the New Year and there are some great ones out there. For meditation, we recommend Calm ; the rain soundtrack is the nicest thing to fall asleep to. The Calm app itself makes it easier to practice meditation if you find it hard to do it alone. For macro and nutrient tracking we use MyFitnessPal . If you pay for the premium version ($9.99) you can track exactly which foods gave you the most protein, monitor your sodium intake etc. For home workouts, you can’t get better than Kayla Itsines ‘Sweat With Kayla ’ app making it easy to workout anywhere at any time of the day. Heaps of girls in our Active in Style fitfam are BBG for life and we highly recommend getting on board.
The fun fitness classes we’re doing
We believe that bodyweight training, HIIT (high intensity interval training), LISS (low intensity steady state) workouts and strength training are the way to go if you want to make a real change to your body. Gone are the days where you spent hours in the gym, now it’s proven that a quick full-body sweat-fest coupled with good nutrition are much more effective. There are so many many cool and exciting new studios popping up, so your workouts in 2017 never need to be boring. A few of our favourites are:
The world’s first organic indoor gym that combines nature-inspired interior design with natural fitness training for an ‘evolutionary’ fitness experience. They offer a range of classes such as Mindfulness & Movement and Play & Fight. Check them out at biofit.io/book-a-class/
HIT and Yoga
A recent favourite of ours, 30 minutes of high-intensity training followed by a juicy hip opening yoga flow. Check them out at www.go2hitandyoga.com and try it out for yourself.
Active in Style instore workouts
We host many free events and different types of workouts in-store with PTs such as Katie Grey and Victoria Robinson (pictured). Last month was Hip Hop Yoga (think fun and free vinyasa flow mixed with tunes from the likes of Biggie, Drake and Kayne West) and this month is BFF HIIT workouts (a pilates and HIIT fusion done with your bestie). We advertise these through our social platforms (find us on Facebook ) with sign up available through Eventbrite.
Known for their amazing interiors modeled on nightclubs, Gymbox they have a range of classes. We love ‘Lactic Jungle’, a fast-paced bodyweight class which fuses animal movement and HIIT featuring crab walks, bear crawls, scorpions, and lizard crawls to release your inner animal and improve strength, balance and cardio fitness. Invert Yourself (AKA playtime for adults) is designed around inversions within aerial hammocks and works on upper body and core strength – two key elements you need in order to go upside down. Inversions can also help relieve spinal tension and maintain correct posture.
How we’re getting more motivated
We recently teamed up with 20 influential personal trainers, chefs and all-round inspirational friends to create our very own Little Black Book of Motivation. Throughout its pages you'll discover top fit secrets and insider information - the best part it’s free to download for everyone. Throughout its pages, you’ll read more of the above from the experts themselves.
Enjoy your 2017 fitness and wellbeing journey! We can’t wait to see you transform into the best version of you.
Written in partnership with Active In Style www.activeinstyle.com.