2XU #HEARTNOTHYPE Campaign

2XU-HEARTNOTHYPE-STATE-OF-THE-HEART

#HeartNotHype is the new and innovative global campaign from 2XU. In case you aren’t familiar with the brand, the name, 'two times you’, represents their mission to multiply human performance. The campaign officially launched at the end of February, and a variety of activity is running across multiple channels, making the campaign hugely engaging and informative.

There are some really great sports and fitness brand campaigns emerging at the moment - I recently wrote about Reebok’s fantastic Be More Human campaign here - and this is is another of my favourites.

HEART NOT HYPE - WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

2XU’s products are all designed using science and compression technology, considering the importance of the blood and the heart in performance and recovery. However, this campaign isn’t just about physiology of the heart, it’s about passion.

The heart is our engine. It drives our blood and feeds our muscles. It shapes our recovery and optimises our performance. 2XU Compression supports our engine and shapes how we recover, train and perform. It’s about heart, not hype.

The campaign is about putting heart into your performance, whatever and however that may be. It may be about expressing yourself through dance, or pushing yourself to your limits in the weights room, but ultimately it’s about doing what you do for the love of it (heart) and not just performing in anticipation of rewards and success (hype).

HEART FILM

The emotive heart film for the campaign features athletes across various sports talking about wanting to be famous for their hearts, not their faces. The film captures the athletes' journeys as they train and put their heart into their workout.

The film makes it clear that it’s not about seeking fame or glory through performance, but putting heart into their performance and how the physiological benefits of wearing 2XU enables them to perform better.

HEARTNOTHYPE SUMMIT

To kickstart the campaign, 2XU hosted a #heartnothype summit in New York, with a panel of experts from across the world of sports performance discussing whether the heart can be trained to perform from both a physiological and an emotional perspective.

I tuned in to the live streaming and was fascinated by everything that they had to say. The abundance of research behind the 2XU products is incredible, and because they are so genuinely effective, they are used not only by athletes but by the military and by people simply looking to optimise wellbeing and recovery.

If you get chance, I highly recommend watching the on demand version of the #heartnothype summit (there’s also a shorter video of the summit highlights) to hear what the experts have to say.

HEARTNOTHYPE-2XU-SUMMIT

ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE TRAINING CAMP COMPETITION

Alongside the campaign, 2XU have also launched a competition to win a trip to an Ultimate Performance Training Camp in California, which includes:
+ Return flights to California, USA
+ 3 nights aoccommodation, meals + transfers
+ Extreme cross-training sessions
+ Strength, movement + mobility training
+ Recovery sessions
+ Speed + agility training
+ Sports nutrition, insights + advice
+ Training alongside + under the guise of world leading sports instructors, athlete + psychologists!

Simply head over to website and follow the instructions to enter, and be ready to share what putting heart into performance means to you.

2XU COMPRESSION PRODUCTS

I’m currently in the process of trialling some of the incredible 2XU gear, so look forward to another post soon detailing the specifics of how the products work, as well as my thoughts on the kit. In the meantime, get inspired by #heartnothype!

#workit with adidas + the SS15 training collection

Adidas-SS15-Training-Collection

To celebrate their Spring/Summer ’15 women’s training collection, adidas have launched the #workit series. Each month, adidas is teaming up with different training experts to provide exclusive access to sought-after sessions from the London fitness scene.

January saw adidas team up with The Skinny Bitch Collective, but this month adidas have joined forces with cult fitness studio Frame. Instructional videos featuring super-simple exercises from the experts can be found on the adidas Facebook page.

I was lucky enough to head down to Frame's Shoreditch studio to sample the signature sessions, the latest adidas training kit, and healthy adidas cupcakes (see my Instagram for evidence) for myself.

FRAME

Frame was created from the belief that being fit should be fun and offer a great variety of fitness, dance, yoga and pilates classes. They have also designed their own signature workouts including Frame Method, Frame Work and Body by Frame (all featured in this month’s #workit series!).

I’d been intrigued by Frame for a while and my first sampling of their signature workouts didn't disappoint. After an hour of cardio, conditioning, and burning isometrics, my muscles were on fire and I loved it. It’s worth checking out the exercises on the adidas women Facebook page for some workout inspiration.

Adidas-SS15-Training-Collection-Track-Jacket

ADIDAS SS15 TRAINING COLLECTION

I’m super-impressed with the newest adidas training collection. As well as the design and technology of the pieces, the colours in the adidas SS15 training collection, tangerine orange and cobalt blue, are gorgeous.

I’ve been wearing:

adidas Infinite Series Racerback Bra

I love the mesh panel in the back of this bra, ensuring plenty of ventilation and making it look super sleek and on-trend.

What really impressed me about this sports bra was seeing the amazing range of sizes on offer; from 2XS to XL in an AB cup size, and 2XS to XL in a CD cup size (which also has an adjustable back closure), it’s possible to find a personalised fit.

adidas Climachill Tank

This is a workout wardrobe staple; a black tank top with a twist. The Climachill mesh-like fabric feels amazing, and the aluminium-silver dots placed on the inner-neck of the top conduct heat away from the body.

adidas Ultimate Fit Shiny Tights

While I have quite a variety of workout pants, I have been missing something quite as electric as these! I love the colour and stylish sheen of these pants as well as the super-light and sweat-wicking Climalite fabric.

adidas Track Jacket

This is the ultimate cover-up and my favourite piece from the collection. As well as having the essentials - pockets, hood and cosy thumbholes - it has a wide, stretchy hem for a flattering fit. What I especially like is the honeycomb-like quilted texture of the fabric, which makes it feel extra luxurious.

I also love working out on this adidas yoga mat which perfectly compliments the collection.

Have you tried any pieces from the new adidas training collection?

Remember to hop over to the adidas Facebook page to check out the #workit videos. I can’t wait to see who adidas team up with for March!

*Thank you to David Lloyd for giving me access to the wonderful gym at Chelsea Harbour Club

Les Mills Immersive Fitness™ has Launched!

IMMERSIVE-FITNESS-LES-MILLS-NATALIE.jpg

Les Mills IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ has just launched in the UK, and as a huge fan of Les Mills workout programmes, I was really excited to be one of the first to try it. I headed to the UK’s first IMMERSIVE studio at David Lloyd Rayne's Park for a completely mind-blowing workout.

What is IMMERSIVE FITNESS™?

IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ is a workout concept developed by Les Mills. If you haven’t heard of Les Mills, why not?! They are the creators of globally-successful group fitness classes such as BODYPUMP™, BODYCOMBAT™ and RPM™ (a studio cycling workout). Well, RPM™ has now been taken up a notch. 

THE TRIP™ is the name of the 30 minute class that I experienced, fusing RPM™ with the IMMERSIVE concept to complete a truly unique exercise experience.

During the class, the lights are lowered and rich visuals on a screen taking up the entire wall of a purpose built studio transport you through galaxies, space-age cities and across oceans. The virtual reality changes with each workout track, ensuring a variety of hills, flats, mountain peaks, time trials, and interval training. Throughout the whole class, the instructor’s cues are not only synchronised with the music, but the on-screen graphics, which is really motivating and helps to completely immerse you in the ride.

Les Mills Immersive Fitness The Trip David Lloyd
Les Mills Immersive Fitness Cinematic Class David Lloyd
Les Mills Immersive Fitness RPM Video Game

My experience of THE TRIP™

My IMMERSIVE experience was completely sensational. I didn’t think once about the length of the workout, I just kept pushing myself harder and harder and loved every minute of it.

While riding through the space-age city, it felt like I was in a TRON video-game and while climbing up steep glaciers it was like being in a movie. My favourite part of the workout was when, while sprinting laps around the digital velodrome, we were leaning forward into descents and pushing sideways around corners. The combination of these perfectly cued movements with the incredible cinematics, made it feel like I was in a theme park simulator. I even felt my stomach lurch a couple of times; in a good way, of course!

Les Mills Immersive Fitness David Lloyd Class Workout

This workout would be fun for absolutely anyone (so long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief a little) and would also be a great way to introduce children and teenagers to workouts that would otherwise seem daunting. 

I couldn’t stop raving about the class for days after trying it. I’m looking forward to it being rolled out into more clubs nationwide so that I can ride THE TRIP™ again and I’m excited to see where IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ goes next...

Have you manage to squeeze yourself into an IMMERSIVE FITNESS™ class at David Lloyd yet? Let me know what you think to the concept!

Tabata: a session with a master trainer + the science

Tabata Class Richard Scrivener Master Trainer

Recently, I’ve introduced a scientifically-backed exercise protocol to my training sessions: Tabata. Since I had my first sweaty experience of Tabata with Master Trainer Richard Scrivener, I’ve been hooked. 

What is Tabata?

Tabata is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is something that I have been a fan of for a long time. However, Tabata follows a unique structure; 20 seconds of exercise at maximum intensity, followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated 8 times. That makes this super-effective drill’s duration just 4 minutes. That’s doable for anyone, right?

Tabata Workout HIIT

The Science of Tabata

What I really love about the Tabata protocol is that it was developed in response to pioneering research conducted by Professor Tabata. His research comparing two experiments is totally fascinating:
Group 1 followed the Tabata protocol, working at 170% of their VO2 max during the 20 second exercise blocks. 
Group 2 worked at a VO2 max of 200% for 30 seconds, but had longer rest periods of 2 minutes, and repeated this for 4-5 rounds.

The Tabata method increased both anaerobic and aerobic fitness.

How is it possible to work out above 100% of your VO2 max?

Your VO2 max (100%) is the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can use during exercise. Working at your VO2 max and below means that you are in the aerobic zone, meaning ‘with oxygen’, and can likely sustain the exercise for a long period of time. Exercising above your VO2 max means that you are in the anaerobic zone, ‘without oxygen’, which can only be sustained for a very short period of time.

Essentially, there’s an inverse relationship between how intensely you can exercise, and how long that exercise can be sustained for. So, if you feel that you could do longer intervals, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. If you decide to try the Tabata method, be sure that you putting everything you have into each of the 20 second bursts. Go all out!

A Tabata Workout

A full Tabata class, like the one that I took with Richard, lasts for 20 minutes. This incorporates a warm up, a few minutes of cardio to start increasing heart rate, a break down of the exercises that will be included in the Tabata, the official 4 minute Tabata workout, some core conditioning, and a cool down.

Tabata Workout Structure

 

Exercises for Tabata

A number of different exercises can be used to form a Tabata from body weight exercises, to treadmill sprints. I also really like to use a spin bike or rowing machine to ensure I get lots of variety in my Tabatas. When you’re selecting exercises to include in a Tabata, be sure to choose explosive movements that will challenge you. Some of my favourites include burpees, mountain climbers and squat jumps. 

My Verdict on Tabata

I’m sold. If I can improve both my aerobic and anaerobic fitness by adding just 4 minutes of HIIT per session, I’m damn well going to do it! I love that I can easily add a blast of cardio onto the end of a weight training session to ensure that I’ve covered all bases during my workout. 

Be warned: it’s brutal. You will sweat, you will be out of breath, and your muscles will fatigue. Don’t expect to end your workout with a Tabata and then be off the gym-floor and in the shower a minute later.

I spend more time recovering from a Tabata than I do completing it, but I push myself hard because I want the best results.

I recommend downloading a Tabata timer app and giving it a go!

Have you tried Tabata? Let me know what your favourite exercises to incorporate are!

N+TC Week: Yoga At The Orbit

NIke Training Club Week London Yoga The Orbit Natalie

Last week, Nike+ Training Club (N+TC) look over London to offer free classes from paddle boarding to ballet, all with expert trainers. I was invited to join a few classes (including the launch class; spinning with 1Rebel at the Gherkin, which looked amazing!) but only managed to squeeze one of them into my calendar. That one was Yoga at The Orbit with Jessica Skye and it was incredible.

Nike+ Training Club

N+TC is a free, functional fitness training app designed for women with over 100 full-body workouts! The workouts are inspired by world-class athletes and based on years of Nike research - and that really shows. The app is great for guiding you through an entire workout, but I also find it an amazing source of on-the-go inspiration when I’m looking for new exercises to add to my training programme. I highly recommend downloading it.

Nike Women also offer Nike+ Training Club classes in other locations on a regular basis. Just Like the Nike Women UK Facebook page to book onto classes.

Nike Training Club Week The Orbit Yoga Just Do It

Yoga at The Orbit with Jessica Skye

After arriving at the Olympic Park, heading 80m up The Orbit and changing into appropriate attire (how awesome are the new legendary lava tights?!), I was ready for a yoga session with a stunning view over London. Jessica, Nike Trainer and the founder of Fat Buddha Yoga, lead an amazing yoga practice that worked towards building strength and focus, as well as improving flexibility and balance. I was so focused throughout the session that I almost didn’t get chance to appreciate the beautiful nighttime skyline (I said almost…) and felt blissfully relaxed after we finished with a Savasana. Jessica is such an encouraging and inspiring instructor and I'm looking forward to taking more classes with her in the future.

Jessica Skye Yoga Nike Training Club Week The Orbit

Refreshments from CPRESS

After our session, Nike ensured that we refuelled the healthy way with organic juices, snacks and salads from CPRESS. I opted for the Rainbow Circus, which was absolutely delicious.

 

Get involved!

If you missed out on classes at NTC week (or even if you just want more!), you can still join Nike by signing up for some N+TC digital sessions. And don’t forget to download the app!

If you managed to grab a spot on a N+TC week class, I’d love to hear about it!

Fly Flex Flow: New Sweaty Betty GF4F Campaign

The new Sweaty Betty Get Fit 4 Free campaign has arrived! It launches today (22nd January) and runs until 12th February. During this time you can head over to the Sweaty Betty website to access the workout videos, or head into store every Tuesday during the campaign to get your fit fix.

The Fly Flex Flow challenge is a three-part workout incorporating indoor or outdoor run intervals and skipping to get your heart racing, some body conditioning movements using light weights, and a relaxing yoga flow. 

I was lucky enough to experience the Fly Flex Flow challenge myself at Sweaty Betty HQ with the workout’s designer, SB Ambassador Annie Foulds.

Fly

I am in no way a keen runner, and wasn’t initially sold on the idea of freezing outdoor run intervals, but if they went some way to getting me a body like Annie’s, I was damn well going to give them my best shot! Although I couldn’t wait to get back indoors, I actually really enjoyed the flat-out sprints and know that if I was doing this workout three days a week like SB recommend, I would definitely see some improvements in my endurance.

Flex

This section was a combination of exercises covering your full body. I think this section is a great introduction to come really effective exercises that can be perfected and progressed to sculpt your body. While I’m used to heavier weights than SB’s 1.5kg dumbbells, I still experienced a serious shoulder burn when Annie got us doing arm circles!

Flow

Finally, renowned yogi Jo Arthur guided us through a short yoga flow and Savasana, which was really relaxing.

Overall, I think that this trio of exercise elements is a really good way for Sweaty Betty to kick-off the new year.

It’s great to give you the chance to find out what aspects of your body could benefit from a little improvement, or to introduce you to a new exercise discipline.

If you give Fly Flex Flow a try, let me know how you get on!

Six3Nine: The Ultimate Personal Training Practice Review

I recently spent a couple of months training at Six3Nine*; an impressively unique personal training practice in Covent Garden, London. At the practice, I experienced an incredible personal training service which was bespoke to the nth degree. And, with the help of my trainer, Russ, I achieved far more than I had anticipated...

The Practice + My Personal Trainer

From the moment that I learned of Six3Nine and their fad-free approach to health and fitness, I was excited to experience what the practice and their elite group of trainers had to offer. I had high hopes for Six3Nine and they didn’t disappoint!

The practice itself is a hidden treasure; at basement level behind a grey door on Drury Lane is a highly-optimised, ultra-functional, super-sleek space. There are no fixed-resistance machines here - only equipment that encourages free and functional movement. I love this concept.

Free initial consultation at Six3Nine

My first visit to the practice was for my free 60 minute initial consultation with the practice manager, Dan. As well as performing a full body composition analysis, Dan spoke to me about my current lifestyle, health, exercise, nutrition, goals and generally got to know me a little better.

This process assured me that I’d be assigned to a trainer whose specialisms and personality were best suited to me, to develop a highly-personalised plan.

Russ Harris at Six3Nine

Following my thorough consultation, I commenced my training sessions with Russ, one of the practice’s Senior Trainers. Russ is undoubtedly one of the best in his field. He has a degree in Sports Science, is studying for a Masters in Strength and Conditioning, and is constantly researching and learning beyond that. It is obvious that he is passionate about what he does, which is really inspiring.

Not only is Russ incredibly knowledgable, he is also amazing at applying his knowledge in innovative ways. Often during our sessions I could practically see cogs whirring inside his head as he developed exercise set-ups and movement patterns that would specifically target my needs. I always found this process completely fascinating and, although some of the outcomes looked like torture devices, Russ always explained exactly how they were beneficial to me. He ensured that every aspect of our training was fine-tuned to my requirements in a way that I couldn’t have imagined possible.

As well as being super talented, Russ is a really nice guy, incredibly patient (which proved crucial when teaching me handstands), puts up with my sarcasm, and is a complete pleasure to train with.

The Training

My first session involved a biomechanical assessment to screen for weaknesses and imbalances. I loved this process as I’m always keen to make tweaks that allow me to get the most from my training and prevent injury. I was really impressed with how Russ’s highly-trained eyes spotted everything!

From there, we worked a lot on making sure that I was getting optimal muscle activation, especially my glutes, which are particularly stubborn! We also did a lot of core work, including various crawling patterns, which left my muscles so sore that I was almost convinced that I had fractured ribs.

We focused a lot on bodyweight exercises, including some gymnastics-based work, which I loved. I feel like the value of bodyweight training is so often neglected by people (trainers included!) so it was really refreshing and insightful to have it incorporated into my programme.

Russ also put together a strength and conditioning programme for me. It was great to work on basic movements such as squats and deadlifts and really perfect my form so that I built the confidence to start increasing my weights again. Russ also encouraged me to use kettlebells as part of my training. While at first I was dubious, I’ve fallen in love with the dynamic movement patterns that can be done using them.

I loved that as I learned and progressed, Russ continuously adapted my training programme and encouraged me to try new things. I can’t believe how much we packed into my time training together at Six3Nine!

The Results

Body Composition

When I arrived at Six3Nine, I was in fairly good shape and weight loss was by no means one of my goals. However, after 2 months of training at the practice, I noticed that my weight had dropped quite a lot; 3.4kg to be precise. I was a little concerned, so Russ suggested doing a body composition analysis to compare to the one I had during my initial consultation.

The results were beyond what we had anticipated.

I had lost 3.7kg of body fat, yet still managed to gain nearly half a kilo of muscle! The reading also showed an improvement in my left-right balance and a reduction in visceral fat. I achieved this simply by training on average 3 times a week while eating a diet of whole, unprocessed foods.

Improved Lifestyle, Knowledge + Confidence

Although I’m really pleased and fascinated by the body composition readings, what’s more important is that I achieved a completely invaluable knowledge and awareness of my own body. My time at Six3Nine has transformed the way that I train my body, as well as some aspects of my lifestyle.

I can now go into any gym and train with confidence that I know what I need to do for my body, and can experiment with different exercises and set-ups (however unconventional) until I find what is right for me.

I have an intense awareness of my own body. I can tell when I have eaten too much of the wrong foods, or too little of the right ones. I can detect little niggles and understand how to customise my workout to avoid injury. I can recognise the areas that I need to focus my training on and, importantly, I know when I just need to rest.

Six3Nine excels at helping people to realise their goals. When I arrived at the practice I didn’t have a single, solid goal; I wasn’t aiming to improve performance at a particular sport, lose weight or rehabilitate an injury. Instead I wanted to improve my aesthetic, get a little stronger, a little fitter, a little less stressed. What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was essentially seeking the tools to make constant improvements to my fitness and wellbeing, and that was exactly what I got.

Team Six3Nine understand that, for whatever reason, clients are going to move on from training at the practice at some point, and they want to ensure that these clients equipped with the best resources for long-term success. Not only are the team knowledgable, they’re genuinely keen to share their knowledge.

Thank you to the amazing, inspiring, lovely team at Six3Nine for inviting me to the practice, and a special thank you to Russ for all of your support!

If you’re interested in training at Six3Nine, contact the team to arrange a free consultation - it could be the best thing you ever do!

Wearing: Top - T K Maxx, Sports Bra - Fabletics, Leggings - Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty x Richard Nicoll Collection Launch at Psycle London + Review

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Following the unveiling of the Sweaty Betty x Richard Nicoll collection at London Fashion Week back in September, I was invited down to Psycle London for a sweaty morning spin with Sweaty Betty before seeing the 9-piece capsule collection for myself.

Sweaty Betty x Richard Nicoll Capsule Collection

My day-to-day outfits reflect my huge love of sports luxe clothing, and I was really excited, and immediately captured, by the Sweaty Betty x Richard Nicoll capsule collection.

As well as looking super elegant, in part due to the soft colour palette, a sporty edginess has been achieved with reflective touches and high performance fabrics and features. Even from a distance, technical and functional aspects of the designs were obvious, from zipped pockets to headphone loops. All of the pieces possess the premium quality that I would expect from the collaboration of such inspiring brands.

The stunningly beautiful pieces are available to buy from February 2015, and I’m especially eager to get my hands on the Muiura tee and the Nui layered tank. 

Psycle London Review

I’d popped into Psycle London on Mortimer Street before but had never had the chance to stop by for one of their bike-based workouts until now. I couldn’t have imaged how much I had been missing out!

From my previous drop in, I knew that the facilities are amazing (even the changing rooms are super sleek-looking and have towels and other essentials provided) and that the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, but now that I’ve had the chance to get a taste of the classes, I can 100% recommend this fitness destination.

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The Workout

Cleated shoes are worn by everyone in all classes, which increases the connection between the leg and the bike. Along with spending most of the time out of the saddle and in the hover position, the increased connection really helped to get my hamstrings and glutes working more than they have in any other studio cycling class I’ve been to - exactly what I love!

What I didn’t expect though was to get such a shoulder workout from a bike-based class. After variations of handlebar press ups, as well as an upper-body focused track using handheld weights, my arms were pretty sore!

Our instructor, Rhian, was amazing and her enviable physique (including ultra-sculpted arms!) kept me motivated throughout the session. She looked incredible modelling some pieces from the SB x Richard Nicoll collection.

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The Music

With my exercise background mainly revolving around dance, I love working out to music. While lots of studio cycling classes have music playing, I’ve yet to experience any classes that really use the rhythm in the way that Psycle do. They compose playlists, not just with BPM in mind, but to influence the mood and energy levels of the class, which definitely helps you to forget how hard you’re working!

In fact, the playlists are such an iconic part of the workouts at Psycle that some of them have been made available on Spotify.

On their website, Psycle say that:

“with the lights turned down, the music turned up and everyone working together, an energy is created that inspires people to workout to the best of their ability”

- I definitely can’t argue with that! I can't wait to book onto another class.

If you're a Sweaty Betty fan, you might also be excited to know that ‘The 12 Sweaty Days of Christmas’ competition is back for another year as of 1st December. Everyday, on the Sweaty Betty Facebook page, there will be prizes to be won, from spa breaks to SB gear to personal training sessions. Get involved!

Wearing: Dedicate Luxe Vest* - Sweaty Betty, Leggings - Vie Active

**Photo credit: Sweaty Betty/Natalie Watts

Technogym: The Ultimate Wellness Experience

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Chances are if you’re a regular gym-goer, you have at some point experienced using Technogymequipment. The gym that I regularly train at is fully kitted out in their iconic grey and yellow products, and while I have always appreciated that the equipment is pretty advanced, in years of sweaty workouts it had never crossed my mind what might go on behind-the-scenes of the cables, plates and treadmill belts.  I certainly didn’t expect to find what I did when I got a privileged peek into Technogym's HQ in Cesena, Italy; a campus to rival Google’s, full of healthy, happy employees and complete with a fitness lover’s playground. I learnt that just like the business they do, their vision for wellness is on a global scale.

A Design Destination

The stunning 150,000m² Technogym Village, opened in 2012, was designed by Antonio Citterio, Patricia Viel and Partners, one of Italy’s most internationally renowned architecture studios and is inspired by the concept of eco-sustainability. The world’s first wellness campus is home to the T-Factory, science and R&D facilities, university and conference centre, and the zero-miles T-Restaurant, as well as an avant-garde gym; a showroom slash job-perk.

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Technogym Product Design

Perhaps the most obvious thing to talk about is Technogym's state-of-the-art fitness equipment. After all, as a world leading supplier and six-time official supplier of the Olympic Games, it's what they're best known for. The design of Technogym's equipment has come a long way since the founder, Nerio Alessandri (who I had the delight of meeting), developed the Hack Squat, Technogym's first ever piece of equipment, in his garage, aged 22. Since then, several international prizes have been awarded to the company, including the prestigious Red Dot Design Award.

Design is crucial to Alessandri's vision for the company, which is to get the world moving. While Technogym's numerous equipment ranges each have different purposes and aesthetics, the majority of their products appear a world away from the metal-on-metal contraptions typical of gyms when the company was founded. The quintessentially Italian, sleek design of Technogym’s equipment aims to make them easy to use, safe, comfortable, and overall appealing to gym users. Using design, Technogym aims to make exercising less intimidating to the general population, in a bid to get the world moving more.

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The Workouts

Of course, we wouldn't have truly embraced the wellness experience without being put through our paces with some of Technogym’s trainers, allowing us to try out the vast array of equipment at our disposal.

Thankfully, after a 4am alarm-call and a very early flight, our first workout at the Technogym Village was an energising and reviving round of outdoor circuit training on the T-Lake using Technogym's functional training line, ARKE.

We also enjoyed using Technogym's newest, ultra-sleek line, ARTIS for some cardio training, explored the many exercise possibilities using the OMNIA (meaning "all things" in Latin) structure, and partnered up to create an effective resistance workout on the KINESIS.

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Corporate Wellness

As if such a beautiful location and world-class fitness suite wasn't enough, there are many other benefits to being an employee of The Wellness Company; mutual benefits to both the employees and the company, in fact. Technogym invests a lot in the wellness of their staff, believing that every $1 invested creates a return of between $2-$20 in productivity. Technogym employees benefit from annual medical screenings in the T-Wellness Centre and extended lunch breaks that mean they have the opportunity to get active (a game of basketball on the Technogym courts, anyone?) and enjoy a nourishing meal. The offices at Technogym HQ are furnished with Wellness Balls to promote 'Active Sitting', and break stations are equipped with vending machines packed with healthy snacks and bikes to encourage even just 10 minutes of activity a day. However, it sounds like the staff don't need much encouraging as I hear that the employees can get quite competitive trying to out-'MOVE' each other.

Note: 'MOVES' are Technogym's unit of activity measurement - more info here.

I absolutely love the concept of corporate wellness and would love to see it applied more widely across businesses in the UK. As the workplace is where people spend most of their time, it seems the ideal place to implement strategies to improve wellbeing.

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T-Restaurant

As I mentioned, staff are encouraged to eat well, to maintain good health and to keep them alert and efficient throughout the day. All meals are balanced, made with locally-sourced ingredients, including organic options, and I can attest to the fact that they are also completely delicious. The Wellness Lifestyle Pyramid covering an entire wall serves as an everyday reminder to Technogym employees and guests that quality of life can be improved by regular physical activity, correct nutrition and a positive mental attitude. The decorated walls also help to educate diners on the best way to nourish their bodies with a special emphasis on eating local and seasonal produce.

Wellness Valley Project: A Blueprint For Global Wellbeing

As part of the wellness experience we were lucky enough to discover the unique local culture and cuisine (especially at La Sanglovesa and Maré, which I highly recommend stopping by if you visit the area). In fact, we were particularly lucky because we were in a very unique region of Italy; the Wellness Valley, Romagna.

Feeling that he was fortunate to have grown up in a community that educated him, Nerio Alessandri decided that he wanted to give back to the local community and so in 2002, set the challenge to turn this picturesque region into the first international wellness district by investing in the region's human, historical, artistic, natural and food capital. Years later, the Romagna region ranks highly for quality of life as many activities are in place to educate the local community about living a healthy lifestyle. While the elderly are encouraged to exercise on the beaches, around 35,000 children in the region have access to play-based classes where they learn about food and movement. The hope is that they will pass on their knowledge to future generations.

Motivating people to move more and adopt a wellness lifestyle is seen by Technogym as their social responsibility. Their belief, and that of the Wellness Foundation (a non-profit organisation), is that wellness is a social and economic opportunity; for governments it means reduced health costs, for businesses it means increased productivity and reduced absences, and for individuals it means a happier lifestyle. Most people see Technogym, The Wellness Company, providing the opportunities for gym-goers to get fit, but little do they know, Technogym are creating a blueprint for global sustainable development. So, next time you jump onto a treadmill to try to drop a couple of lbs, try to think of the bigger picture: WELLNESS.

Thank you, Technogym, for an unforgettably inspiring trip! 

Wearing:

Bra - Pure Simple Sport at JD*, Top - Under ArmourLeggings - Lululemon*, Training Shoes - Nike*

Wearing: Technogym T-shirt*, Capri Tights - Asics*, Running Shoes - Asics*

*Photography by Technogym

**Photography by Cantara (Gymbags and Gladrags)