An Interview With Sportswear Designer Charli Cohen

Charli-Cohen-Interview-LFW-SS16

Tomorrow is the official launch of London Fashion Week and what better way to celebrate then with a Q&A with Charli Cohen. Charli is a personal friend of mine so I can tell you that as well as being creative and driven, as you'd expect from the designer of her eponymous brand, she is also incredibly intelligent and sweet.

Her much anticipated SS16 collection will be shown on Sunday (details below) but in the meantime, get to know the girl behind the stunning collection...


You’re a lady of many talents, Charli! You’ve lots of impressive credentials and brands associated with your name, so for people who aren’t aware, could you please give a rundown?

I graduated as fashion design student of the year from Kingston university in 2012 and I'm also a certified personal trainer. The Charli Cohen brand really consolidated these two passions and fields of expertise.

I've always known this is what I was going to do - when I was 15 I set up my first fashion brand - a t-shirt label - which I ran for 4 years up until I started university - I thought a practice run would be the best way for me to gain experience in all areas of running my own fashion business before doing it on a much bigger scale.

Alongside Charli Cohen, I’m creative director of fashion at ADAY, an amazing active lifestyle brand and I’m also co-founder of That Girl with personal trainer to the stars, Christina Howells. I’ve also been involved in various collaborations, the most notable to date my Charli Cohen women and menswear range for 1Rebel earlier this year.


The topic on everyone’s lips at the moment is London Fashion Week. I’ve been lucky enough to have a sneak peek at the new collection (FYI, it’s INCREDIBLE!) but can you briefly describe what people can expect to see at your show this week? Where do you take inspiration from for your collections?

The inspiration this season came from comic book superheroes, which can be seen in the colours and design lines. The pieces also feature sleek bonded seams, perforation and laser cutting for some really cool textures and finishes. Guests will also get a preview of our brand new swimwear line, which I’m really excited about!


You’ve been posting little teaser posts on social media, branded ‘vitamin cc’. Can you give any insight as to what you’ve got brewing?

Not yet, but let’s just say that fans of our Dressed to Kale tee are going to need some Vitamin CC in their lives!

Charli-Cohen-Interview-Sportsluxe-Coat


So with all these projects, what’s a typical day like for you?

People are often surprised at how much time I spend on the laptop, but admin is a pretty integral part of every day! Aside from that it depends what point we’re at in the season – anything from design and product development to days of back-to-back meetings to accounting!


What are the highs and lows of being your own boss?

Your business is your baby – the highs are the excitement and fulfilment of watching it grow, the lows are the impatience when it’s not moving as quickly as you’d like or have to single-handedly deal with setbacks.


I know that nutrition is really important to you. Could you explain a little about why this is?

Nutrition has been a huge interest of mine since I was a teen, but even more-so recently after being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue last year. To be able to manage the symptoms and to recover, I’ve had to pay much more attention to getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals in my diet and avoiding foods that put stress on the body.


What is your training regime like?

I train 4-5 times per week, mostly weight lifting with a bit of kickboxing thrown in. I also walk as much as I can during the day.


What is your ethos?

Optimise every moment of every day – whether that means work, play or rest.


You can catch Charli’s LFW show on Sunday 20th September at 4pm at SIX3NINE Covent Garden. Please contact rsvp@felicities.co.uk for further information.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for a behind-the-scenes peek at Charli's show on Sunday

The Charli Cohen AW15 collection is now available. Check the website for Charli Cohen stockists

An Interview with Louise Hazel - Olympic Athlete + Trainer

Louise_Hazel_Health_Fitness_Interview

Despite leaving her Olympic career behind, Louise Hazel is still very much involved in the fitness industry and has maintained her enviably gorgeous, atheltic physique.

I caught up with her to get an insight into her daily life and how it differs from when she was competing...


I loved watching you compete in the London 2012 Olympics and there are few people who will be unfamiliar with your athletics career, but can you please briefly describe your career to date?

I am a London 2012 Olympian and Commonwealth Gold Medallist in the heptathlon. I've represented TeamGB in the heptathlon since the age of 17 at European, World, Olympic and Commonwealth Level.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day is completely different since I retired from athletics. This year has already been crazy, I came second to Joey Essex in Channel 4 show "The Jump" and I've just launched #FitForFree an initiative that is aimed at encouraging the development and funding for Free exercise across the UK.

I'm currently doing free fitness classes every Wednesday in July at Pineapple Dance Studios.

What is your own training regime like? Is it very different from when you were competing or have some aspects stuck with you?

I still train like an elite athlete just not as often, I run every week and I lift weights in the gym, and I still get frustrated when I think I can do more! :)

I wish I had have been able to get into athletics when I was younger, but there wasn’t much opportunity. Do you think it’s possible for adults to venture into any kind of track and field sports (even just for fun and fitness) and how would you suggest they do go about this?

There are plenty of local athletics clubs, and they are a great way of staying fit and healthy. Club training nights tends to be on Tuesdays and Thursdays if not every night of the week and memberships are often much cheaper than the gym. You'll find details of your local training facilities at www.britishathletics.org

Louise_Hazel_Health_Training_Interview

How did you educate yourself on fitness and nutrition?

I was fortunate to learn from the best. I've always trained with Elite level coaching, which heavily shapes the way I view fitness. Most personal trainers focus on "beasting" their clients, but it's important that sessions are challenging enough but not injury inducing.

I qualified as a personal trainer and nutritionist in 2012, having fallen ill from a stomach problem. Only then did I really educate myself on nutrition and the benefits of clean eating.

What do you eat in a day?

At the moment, I'm not taking any supplements as I'm not in heavy training. I eat three main meals per day and a couple of snacks. My appetite always decreases in the summer and I naturally eat a lot fewer carbohydrates a maximum of two very small portions per day!

Some recipes can be found on thepodiumeffect.com

How does your diet differ from when you were competing?

It's vastly different, I can't get away with eating as much as I did when I was training twice per day. Although you'd think my diet was better when I was training, it was actually much worse. It was full of sugar, energy drinks and crappy carbs! Terrible - makes me feel dirty just thinking about it! LOL.

One thing that hasn't changed is my love for chips, especially sweet potato fries!

How do you fit in eating a healthy, balanced diet? Do you find that you have to prepare meals in advance?

It's easy when you get into the rhythm of it. I juice every morning. I soak my oats overnight and I always make sure I have a box of eggs to hand. These are my healthy eating essentials.

Your current focus is on The Podium Effect. Can you briefly describe what this is, who it is designed for and what motivated you to create it?

I am the founder of online weight-loss plan The Podium Effect which I launched in 2013. I designed 60 day challenges for those who want to get fit whilst managing a busy lifestyle. There are six stages in total and they get progressively more challenging. I provide nutritional guidelines and video workouts meaning that with just 30 minutes a day you can ensure a long term physical transformation.

It's perfect for home use, but users also travel with it on holidays, work breaks, etc.

What is your ethos?

Love hard, run fast, smile often and drink plenty of water!


Tried The Podium Effect? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

An Interview with Madeleine Shaw - Nutritionist, Yoga Instructor + Author

Madeleine_Shaw_Yoga_Health_Interview

I recently had the pleasure of taking an amazingly revitalising morning yoga class with the beautiful Madeleine Shaw. We caught up afterwards to enjoy a smoothie and some chit chat. I discovered that her down-to-earth nature is enchanting and her calm and happy nature is easily contagious.

Here you can learn what you can expect from Madeleine’s glowing new book, how she feeds her thirst for nutrition knowledge, and what it’s like to build a healthy career.


There will be few people who aren’t familiar with you since the release of your beautiful new book, Get the Glow. But in case anyone has been hiding under a rock, could you please briefly describe who you are and what you do?

I’m a qualified nutritional health coach, yoga teacher and author. I love creating recipes and giving advice to people to help enliven the hottest, happiest and healthiest version of themselves. This includes gluten and sugar free recipes that help heal the body from within.


I’ve already touched on it, but you’ve recently released your first book, congratulations! Can you briefly describe what people can expect to find inside?

Of course! All of my recipes are gluten and sugar free so you can find one hundred yummy, natural recipes in my book. They are all easy to prepare, and the kinds of foods you would like to eat everyday. There’s a good mix of vegan, vegetarian and of course, meat dishes in there so there really is something for everyone.


Where did your health and nutrition journey begin?

It began when I moved to Australia and started working in an organic cafe on Bondi. I used to think low fat and calorie free foods were good for you and lived on a diet of low fat yoghurt and rice cakes. I had terrible digestive problems, bad skin and limp hair. My job in the cafe, and the healthy Australian way of life educated me about food and what I should be putting in my body. I knew in that moment that I wanted to follow a job path into health and nutrition.

Madeleine_Shaw_Health_Interview

How do you educate yourself on nutrition?

I first studied at the Integrated Institute of Nutrition and trained to be a nutritional health coach. I am now studying a three year course in Neuropathic Nutrition at CNM in London.


What do you love most about your career?

I love that I get to help people and change people’s perspective on food. It makes me so happy to hear from people whose lives I’ve had an impact on no matter how big or small it may be.


And what is the most challenging aspect?

That just hard to switch off, owning your own business means it everyday 247 so its hard to have down time.


What exciting things can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’m working on an online wellness platform for mindfulness, exercise and nutrition called the Glow Guides. It’s not quite ready yet, but I’m so excited about it!

Madeleine_Shaw_Recipe

What sort of things might you get up to on a typical day?

I’ll wake up early and go to an exercise class, and if not I’ll go to a yoga class later in the day.

I love to cook, so if I’m working from home I’ll be whipping up something in the kitchen. It’s really sad but I spend a lot of time on my laptop sending emails, and researching. If I’m not working from home I’ll be running around to different meetings in London.


What do you eat in a day?

I love eating eggs and avocado for breakfast. This is pretty much a staple meal for me.

For lunch I’ll then have something light like a salad with some form of protein.

Then for dinner, I’ll sit down with my boyfriend and have a big hearty meal at home. I love cooking dinner in my house for everyone it makes me feel happy to have people enjoy my food!


You’ve recently qualified as a yoga instructing (and I’ve had the pleasure of practising with you!), but are there any other fitness disciplines that you enjoy? Do you follow an exercise regime?

As I said, I love going to classes. I love Core Collective, Lomax and I also have ClassPass which is great - there’s so many amazing classes in London to choose from so in that respect I’m spoilt for choice!


What is your ethos?

I try to only eat foods that you can pick, hunt, or gather. It's very caveman but it's also a very natural way of eating!


I highly recommend picking up a copy of Madeleine's beautiful book, Get the Glow for some hot, happy and healthy inspiration. If you already have your hands on a copy, let me know what your favourite recipe is so that I can send it to the top of my list!

Meet Annie Foulds: Fitness Coach + Sweaty Betty Ambassador

Annie Foulds Fitness Coach Sweaty Betty Ambassador Natalie

I met Annie Foulds, a professional fitness coach and Sweaty Betty ambassador, at the launch of the new Sweaty Betty Get Fit 4 Free campaign. As well as being enchanted by Annie's infectiously upbeat personality, I was fascinated by her impressive and varied résumé of achievements. While Annie’s current focus is on marathon running, she’s previously completed an ultra-endurance Sahara race, been a professional dancer and fitness competitor, and she’s even doing a part-time psychology degree! 

I caught up with her for more details on how she eats, trains and maintains such an enviable physique...

You developed the new GF4F campaign - talk me through the process of designing the workout?

Sweaty Betty gave me the brief of want they required, then I used my experience and passion for how I like to train myself and encourage my clients.

I wanted to have a workout that covered all three elements: cardio, conditioning and stretching. I am an endurance athlete, so I love the high intensity training. I spent many years training for fitness competitions, so I know who important it is to have a strong body. I also love yoga and find it enormously beneficial and a great compliment to my style of workout.

There's something for everyone in the SB Fly Flex Flow workout. I am a great believer in having all three elements in one’s life - not just one - to have a wonderfully healthy mind and body.

What's your nutrition like on a typical day?

Meals
Breakfast (5.30am) - half a banana, white Americano, and granola with honey and milk
Snack (10.30am) - a handful of nuts and an apple, another half a banana
Lunch (between 2pm-3pm) - salmon salad from Pret, or salmon and veggies at home
Dinner (between 5.30pm-8.30pm) - fish (cod), vegetables and juice

Keeping hydrated
I will drink at least 2 litres of water per day

Supplements
I don't use supplementation really; just vitamin C and zinc. I use gels when I am running a marathon. I try to keep my nutrition clean as possible.

Annie Foulds Fitness Coach Running

Favourite healthy meal or snack?

I adore king prawns - I could eat the whole pack. They are low in fat, easy to cook with just about anything or eat on their own! Nuts are a real favourite too - but only in very small quantities. They’re a great source of protein.

Guilty pleasure?

A glass of champagne at the weekends.

You’re such a busy lady, what does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day for me starts very early at 5.30 am. I shower, have a quick breakfast, dress and am out of the door by 5.50 am for my first client session at 6am - 7am. I have eight clients a day.

The sessions vary from running, kickboxing, TRX, conditioning, Insanity, or dance sessions. Some days I can have three running sessions back to back. So, I feel very fortunate that my main hobby is running marathons. As my sessions are so varied, I make sure my training bag is packed with new outfits the night before, as I could have up to five changes in one day.

My day is about 14 hours long. Some days are shorter, but generally I sit down at home at 8.30pm. However, I am a mother too, so I make sure I have time to collect my son from school.

Annie Foulds Marathon Runner

What is your own training regime like?

I manage my own fitness by being very strict on myself. I am my own worse critic and I will push myself very hard.

If I have a gap in my day I will make sure I go off for a run, or if the gap follows a running session, I will do a stretch session at home. I try and run at least for an hour about five times during the week. Obviously, if I am really short on time, I just do what I can and run harder and faster; I will maybe find a hill or add in some stairs - Battersea Park is great for that. I always do a long run on Sundays. Off-season, I try to keep to around 45 - 50 miles a week. I try to compete in two marathons a year now. This year I am intending on completing four. London, Stockholm, Athens and Florence.

I love being an Insanity instructor and I practice my sessions at home, which keeps me in good condition. As I mentioned. conditioning work is important to me, so I squeeze that in at home whenever I find the opportunity. My family will tell you that it is not a strange sight to see mummy walk lunging down the hall way or doing jump squats in the kitchen!

You look amazing (can you believe that Annie is 45?!), what are your secrets?

Haha! That is very sweet. I drink lots of water. I keep my skincare very simple. I don't wear a lot of make-up - blusher, lipstick and mascara. I facial scrub and moisturise daily - morning and night. I mix my body moisturising cream with olive oil and rub it into my body twice daily. I even put olive oil in my hair when I am blow drying it. I have a fab hairdresser called Eve from Errol Douglas Salon in Knightsbridge where I have been going for over ten years.

Annie Foulds Personal Trainer Fitness

What are your workout outfit essentials?

I love a bit of colour. It makes me feel happy! Sometimes I'll wear bright orange vest tops with funky coloured longs socks; they’re such fun and they keep my calves warm too!

However, some days I want to look cool and sharp - so I opt for very chic Sweaty Betty black leggings, vest top and black ski jacket.

A must are my colourful head bands - they are fun, but also very essential - they stop my hair looking very mad and keeps my earphones when I am running in place. They also double up as a neck warmer too!

I also love my Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity outfit - I just bought the latest blue colour way! It's just amazingly cool and practical. The Zero Gravity Tights lift your bottom! 

What is your ethos?

"Live today like there's no tomorrow".
I also like "Train to Change," because this applies anything; your mind, your body, or preferably both.

An Interview with Dame Kelly Holmes at the GSK Human Performance Lab

I was recently invited by MaxiNutrition to join them for an evening at the Glaxo Smith Kline Human Performance Lab to learn about the facility and how the research being done there aids the development of MaxiNutrition products. I was really excited for this opportunity, not only because I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to nutrition and sports physiology, but because very few people gain access to this facility which is usually reserved for Britain's sporting elite. And, of course, I was eagerly anticipating meeting the lovely Dame Kelly Holmes. Read on to find out about what she eats to look and perform as amazing as she does, how she trains to burn fat and tone up, and what her ethos is.

The GSK HPL facility and the six pillars

During the tour, it was clear that the GSK HPL, opened in July 2013, is a state-of-the-art facility. The team here work with elite athletes and teams to improve performance, but also have a strong focus on research and development particularly with regard to understanding the role of protein (more on that soon!). One thing that was really clear from this event is that MaxiNutrition are using this research to try and make sports nutrition accessible and convenient for everyone's needs from these elite athletes to once-a-week runners.

The work at the HPL intends to accelerate the understanding of the role of six pillars: strengthstaminacognitionhydrationmetabolism and recovery. It's definitely worth taking a little trip to the GSK HPL website (just click on each of the six pillars listed above to take you to the relevant page) or to the GSK HPL YouTube channel to check out some amazing short videos featuring athletes undergoing testing on the different aspects, if it interests you as it does me. Another thing which is really impressive about the HPL is that they are dedicated to making their research findings as practical as possible. That's where Dame Kelly comes in...

Wonder what Kelly is doing running downhill on a giant treadmill? Running downhill lengthens the eccentric component of the muscle action, inducing more muscle damage. This allows the GSK HPL team to look at the effects of different interventions, such as protein, in offsetting the degradation of the muscle from muscle damage. Fascinating stuff! (That's the geek in me talking...)

Chatting with Dame Kelly

Kelly's role at the facility is as Technical Advisor. Having asked her what that entails, she told me "I sit on a panel of experts and most of them are scientists but I'm the 'applied person'; I'm somebody to put things into perspective." Kelly, with her wealth of experience, is here to remind the team that "on the ground there’s an athlete and a coach and you need to make your information very accessible and easy so that the science can be applied to the performer". This is an issue that Kelly is all too familiar with. She recalls when she used to do VO2 max tests, "it was very basic, my coach didn't understand it at all and we didn't know how to apply it to my training".

“As sports science moves on, performance enhances”

Talking about how Kelly has seen the science change over the years, she explains "when I first started [contrast bathing], it was just in a bath with cold water. Then it went from that to being in wheeley bin of ¾ ice and ¼ water and then going into a hot bath. I had that at Athens [where Kelly achieved two Olympic gold medals] as a recovery strategy". Now, as demonstrated at the HPL Hydro Lab, the baths are precisely temperature controlled. This is just one example of how technology within sports science has developed. Kelly recognises that "lots of sports people, especially in teams, use this to get that 1% gain [in performance]", which can make all the difference. 

Kelly Holmes on nutrition

In terms of nutrition, Kelly recollected that nutritional advice used to all be based on food, but after training hard, the last thing she would want to do was eat a meal and so struggled with the nutritional aspect of recovery. Now, Kelly is training for Duathlons but, as this isn't her full-time focus, her recovery strategy is far less time-intensive. Therefore, she relies a lot on convenient products such as recovery formulas. 

"I have a really bad sweet tooth"

"My days are absolutely hectic", Kelly says, "I found I was missing breakfast, which is the core meal of the day because you've fasted for however many hours you sleep, and I was feeling sluggish by 11o'clock and all I wanted was a sugar hit. I was just eating fast things that were giving me a bit of a buzz and filling me up. So I decided I'd got to eat smaller portions more often. I'll have porridge in the morning, and a protein shake after training, because it's quick and easy. Then I will have already prepared my sandwich or wrap, and that will be anything like chicken or turkey, with salad, mustard - all those things that are good and easy. My snacks now could be an apple and cottage cheese, or a protein bar, all things that are accessible to me". 

However, Kelly also admits "I always say to people still have your day when you can eat what you want. I have to! I love my food, I've got a really bad sweet tooth. I will be a bit more focused during the week but Saturday is my day. Everyone needs to switch off".

Kelly Holmes on training

Now that Kelly is training for Duathlons, she is spending time at the HPL doing physiological testing and trying to improve her performance on the bike because that's her opportunity for the biggest gains when competing, as she told me she is still suffering with her calves and achilles and so can't run as much as she did. "I'm trying to change my body. I've been running all my life and suddenly I'm getting on a bike, so I know what people feel like that are just starting training".

"I'm trying to change my body"

When I asked her about strength training, Kelly said "I do more HIIT training, it's an 'in thing' now but it's always something I've done, such as circuit training, but I do a lot of strength exercises within that. I do weight training for 'toning'. A lot of women are worried about it because it builds muscle. I've got a naturally muscular frame anyway but actually doing more weights has helped me burn fat and 'tone up' so I bring that into my training quite a lot".

Dame Kelly's ethos

"For me, to feel happy you have to feel happy on the inside and the outside. Some people think 'I don't like how I look' but actually if you start trying to make changes on the inside you feel better. I ask 'how do you feel as a person? Are you happy?' and if not, make those changes. They only have to be small. And from a fitness and activity point of view, set yourself a goal. Don't make a new year's resolution that you'll give up in two weeks' time, make a goal that you would like to achieve. It gives you a starting point to think 'how do I make those changes?' and it's more sustainable. It could just be to walk to work, or get off the tube early and walk two stops down!" 

"Are you happy? If not, make those changes"

"My goal this year was to do a Duathlon every month. I hadn't done anything competitive since I retired and this is my ten year anniversary of my two Olympic gold medal wins so I decided to set my own goal. I've done six [Duathlons] now. I'd never done it before in my life, struggled like you can't believe, but I feel good that I have that purpose".  

Kelly was incredibly friendly and inspiring and it was an absolute pleasure to spend time with her, and the rest of the team, at GSK HPL.

Tennis at Roehampton Club with Asics Ambassadors

I don’t even remember the last time that I played a racket sport (discounting garden swing ball) but I recently realised that all racket sports are included in my gym membership and decided that it’s the perfect time of year to start taking advantage of that. So what better way to ease myself in, than by playing on the other side of the net to the British No.3…

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited down to Roehampton Tennis Club by Asics, to celebrate the start of Wimbledon with their ambassadors Sam Stosur (World No.18) and Johanna Konta (British No.3). It was a beautiful sunny morning in London (apologies for the my squinty eyes in the photographs!) so I really enjoyed putting some gorgeous Asics tennis apparel to the test (these trainers especially were incredible), and of course, meeting Sam and Johanna, who were both really lovely.

Clearly I’m a tennis novice, so rather than talking tournament tactics, I was keen to hear more about how Sam and Johanna supplement their tennis training with a healthy diet and other forms of fitness training. 

Do you have a nutrition plan to follow that compliments your training?

Johanna:

I wouldn’t say I’m strict [with my nutrition] but I do practise good habits. We have a great nutritionist, Glen, who works with us over at the National Tennis Centre, and I’ve been lucky growing up – my mum has given me good habits! I don’t starve myself of things because I think I’ll go nuts, but I do realise that what I put into my body is what I’m going to get out of it. I make conscious decisions of knowing what to eat, when.

Sam:

Not really, I’m just sensible. For me, I think as soon as you say you can’t have something, that’s when you really want it, and otherwise you’d go crazy. Obviously I try and be as healthy as I can, but if I have a blow out day every now and then, it’s not the end of the world.

What sort of things do you eat before a match?

Johanna:

It depends on how much time I have, but I’ll usually go through some bananas, some bars, some gels. If there’s more time, I’ll have a meal.

Sam:

Before a match, I might eat pasta, usually just plain with some chicken. The night before I’ll have what ever I feel like. I won’t necessarily have a big bowl of pasta for every meal because as I’ve got older I’ve found out what I like more and what works for me. Sometimes it’s hard because the courts only have certain foods, and that’s usually pasta, chicken and rice, and although that gets pretty boring, that’s definitely what all of us will eat a lot of.

What other training do you do outside of your tennis training?

Johanna:

I do a lot of gym work and I have a great programme with my fitness trainer at the National Tennis Centre. We do a lot of weights but right now we are doing a lot of speed work on the court with the grass and making sure I’m staying low, so I’m getting a very sore bum and quads! With tennis being a very rounded sport, we have to go through a lot of things. We’re prone to a lot of different injuries – we can have a lot of overuse injuries but also, at the same time, a lot of freak accidents. Core is obviously very important, but then so is general strength and endurance as well. It really is a case of ticking every box as well as you can.

Sam:

I do strength training in the gym, lifting weights and all that kind of stuff. Yesterday I actually did some boxing, and I like doing swimming. I do a whole bunch of different things to be honest. I think that it’s good to be able to mix it up and get variety otherwise it gets pretty boring. So when I’m at home [in Australia] in the pre-season it’s probably the easiest time to do lots of different things.

These are girls after my own heart; keeping variety in their fitness training and increasing their performance with strength training. I also love their refreshing and healthy attitude towards nutrition; listening to their bodies, eating healthy where possible and enjoying treats in moderation.

I had such a lovely morning with the Asics team and can't wait to start working on my serve. Let me know if you have any tips!

Meet Celest of Cityogi - Prepare to be Inspired

At a lovely event in London with Birchbox and Lululemon, I met this beautiful lady, Celest Pereira. Celest is a wonderful yoga instructor and founder of Cityogi. After enjoying a lovely yoga session with her, we spoke for a long time about health, nutrition and wellbeing, and she totally inspired me. 

Celest is such a sweetheart and I feel blessed to have met her. So now I’d love for all of you to meet her too!

What is your ethos, Celest?

My ethos is always, do no harm. I’m vegetarian and I don’t wear leather and because of this everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I just love life. I love seeing animals, people, all living things thriving. I never ever want my actions to knowingly contribute to another’s suffering.

And what motivates and inspires you?

Wow, this is such a hard question because there are so many things. But if I had to say one thing, I’m really inspired by other people’s stories. When you really get to know people and they tell you about their lives you realise just how much each of us as individuals has had to go through to get to where we are now. That is why you can never judge another person, you just don’t know what they’ve been through. One of my favourite sayings is, “everyone does the best they can with the information they’ve got.” That saying has helped me in many instances not to get upset when other people do hurtful things. They very rarely mean it.

At the Birchbox & Lululemon event, you spoke about the battle you’ve had with your skin. Could you please briefly recap for TBE readers the issues you had and how you moved forward, taking control of them? 

From my teens and well into adulthood I had horrendous skin. I was really embarrassed and so went to seek help with GP’s, dermatologists, skin specialists, I went to them all. It cost me thousands. I had no results. The worst part was I developed IBS from all the medication doctors pumped into my body and in addition to this I had extreme tiredness. I would sleep eight to ten hours a night and to get through the afternoon I would sleep 2 hours after lunch everyday.

When I reached the depths of my depression and frustration a book was given to me, The pH Miracle by Dr. Robert O. Young. This book outlined that one of the first steps one should take to regain health is go for a live blood analysis. I decided to do this and I discovered there was an extreme overgrowth of yeast in my blood. Yeast I learnt, secretes waste into your blood stream and for some people your body eliminates it through the skin. The yeast lives off of sugars, and even releases a chemical that causes extreme sugar cravings. This shocked me because doctors for years had been telling me that diet has nothing to do with the health of one’s skin.

As soon as I knew this I went on a juice fast, cut out sugar and started eating an alkaline diet. My skin transformed! My IBS cleared up and my tiredness vanished.

During the chat, you stressed that people should take more control over their own health. How would you suggest people begin to educate themselves best?

My life made a 180 degree shift. Conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers and that is why our health is in our own hands. It’s up to us each and every day to make sure we’re eating healthy food, drinking water and getting enough sleep. It’s this and not drugs that will make you healthy.

These are simple steps that anyone can do. The thing that stands in our way is our ourselves. The book that helped me really get over my own limitations was The Thought Gym by Hari Kalymnios. This book made me realise so much about myself and got me to take massive action. Without it I’m not sure I could have stuck out the direction given in the pH Miracle.

So, having struggled with your skin in the past, what skincare do you currently use to keep it looking so beautifully flawless?

I love Melvita for my face. But actually I make lots of my own products. Recently my friend and I decided it’ll be quite cool to share what we know, so we set up a YouTube channel that teaches others how to do the same thing.

What would you eat on an average day?

>> First thing in the morning I drink as much water as my tummy can handle. Sometimes I add lemon too. I then get ready to give my body a chance to process the water.

>> Breakfast is a veggie smoothie - again, everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I love it! I put whatever veggies I have in a blender with avocado, nuts, seeds and green powders. Green powders are a mixture of vegetables, grasses, spirulina etc. They’re super good for you and tend to give you a sustained energy boost for hours.

>> For lunch I usually grab something on the go. I like a warm lunch, so I pop into itsu, Leon or Pod. I usually get a veggie dish with rice. For snacks I grab hummus and rice cakes, fruit, nuts, seeds, salad, anything that will feed the cells of my body.

>> Dinner is a variety. I love cooking dishes from Mimi Ikonn’s cook book called Healthy and Delicious. But the pH Miracle also had some awesome recipes. I’m really lucky because my boyfriend is an awesome cook and he is super healthy. I work late most nights and whenever I get home he always has dinner ready for me. Thanks babe.

You mentioned how much you love your Vitamix – do you have a favourite recipe?

I love making home-made ice-cream. Frozen bananas and raw cacao powder! Boom! The most delicious thing on earth :)

What is your favourite healthy snack or quick and easy recipe?

When I’m really busy I boil quiona and steam veggies with lemon and olive oil. It’s so fast, tasty and healthy. It’s just the best thing to eat when I’m pushed for time.

Despite being super-healthy and avoiding sugar as much as possible (smart girl!), are there any naughty treats that you just can’t resist?

YES! hahaha, Booja Booja Truffles... Ah! They are incredible. I also really like Om Bar Chocolates. The new coco mylk flavour is to die for.

On your website you describe how it was when you were first travelling that you discovered your desire to make a difference by doing what you love. Where are your favourite places in the world, and why?

I think every place I’ve been to has something incredible to offer. But some of my best memories have been in Brazil. I love the joy in the people there. The way you can hear music and laughing around each street corner. The way people will go out of their way to help you and support you. And the scenery never fails to leave me spell bound.

I was lucky enough to enjoy an amazing yoga session with you at Lululemon, but for what reasons would you recommend that people take up yoga, and what is it that you enjoy so much about it?

What I love about yoga is that there is a style to suit everyone. There are so many variations of the art that if you look long enough you’re going to find one that speaks to you. This is the most essential thing about exercise, you have to find something you love or there is no way you’ll stick to it. In our modern lives we move so little and our bodies waste away.

Perhaps now while you’re young this is not an issue, but remember you will not be young forever. One day when you’re older if your body is weak the chances of you falling, hurting yourself and ending up in hospital are increased massively if you don’t move enough while you’re young.

When I worked as a physiotherapist in the community I had to rehabilitate a number of house bound elderly people and it broke my heart. That is why I am so passionate about getting people to use their bodies to their fullest capacity.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t teaching or working out? How do you like to unwind?

I love reading. Books are incredible, because what took someone else years to learn they compile in a book that you can read in a few days or weeks and then all that knowledge is yours. It’s a short cut to awesomeness.

If you'd like to catch a yoga class with Celest, take a look at her timetable, here.

Celest is also running a detox retreat this year. She is bringing in an NLP specialist, nutritionist, massage therapist and will be teaching yoga. The idea is to create a platform for lasting transformation so that after the retreat you will have the tools and the motivation to move forward with a healthy lifestyle and stick to it. It’s happening in Turkey 29th Sept - 6th October 2014. Get more information, here.

Celest is also this month’s Birchbox crush, so don’t forget to head over to the brilliant Birchbox blog to find out more! Spoiler alert (I couldn’t resist sharing this little gem!): When asked what advice she would give to her younger self, Celest’s response was “The more people you help succeed, the faster you will succeed”. So inspiring!

Meet Chloe of Chloe's Pilates

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Chloe, the owner of Chloe's Pilates. Although she has been passionate about fitness for a large part of her life, Chloe had often thought of Pilates as being a little static and limited. That was, she explained to me, until she suffered from back pain and turned to pilates to build her core strength and cure the problem. Chloe then went on to train as a pilates instructor so that she could share her knowledge while enhancing her own understanding and technique. So inspiring!

I was really excited to take a class with Chloe at Lomax in Chelsea, but before I spill the beans on that, I can't wait to share a little more about her. From workout wear to nutrition, she has got gorgeous, healthy living down to a T. She is so charming and a total sweetheart!

What is your ethos, Chloe?

Everything in moderation, and live each day as though it is your last.

When you aren't teaching, what is your weekly workout schedule?

I try and do 2 pilates classes a week (I go to Ten Pilates in Notting Hill), I do weights in the gym and as I teach cardiolates every day at Lomax, that gives me a good cardio workout! I also bike to and from work which helps keep me fit!

During our session you were kitted out in Lorna Jane (the UK’s first pop up store has recently opened just a few minutes walk away), but what are your favourite workout outfits?

Lorna Jane! Everyday I am kitted out in Lorna Jane leggings and tops. I also love some of the Adidas by Stella McCartney leggings.

What is your favorite way to relax and de-stress?

Hanging out with my husband and going out for dinner with friends and family – I love going to restaurants.

I noticed on your Instagram (@chloespilates) that you are a fan of the Honestly Healthy Cookbook (I love this book, but more on that another time). Do follow an alkaline diet and what are your general views on nutrition?

I am a very healthy person and have been all of my life. My parents brought me up on home grown meat and veg (my father is a farmer) so staying healthy is not hard for me as I love it. A lot of my diet is similar to the Honestly Healthy way of eating but I do include dairy, meat and fish in my diet as I need the protein, especially if I am doing a lot of exercise. I also have a BIG sweet tooth. I will always choose to have a pudding over a starter!

What would you eat in an average day (including any supplements)?

First thing I have lemon in water followed by a vital green juice.

Breakfast is normally porridge made with almond milk with some Greek yogurt, seeds (sesame, pumpkin and chia) and blueberries on top.

I take the following supplements after brekkie:

Vitamin C

B-Complex

Multi-vitamin

Ultimate Omega D3

I normally have some kind of snack around 11am, which is anything I can get my hands on but often a healthy energy bar from the Lomax café.

Lunch is normally chicken or fish with salad and couscous or quinoa.

After cardiolates I will have a natural protein shake and I normally have some more fruit with Greek yogurt.

Dinner depends on what my husband wants(!!) but I love a good stir-fry or salmon with brown rice and vegetables followed by some more fruit and yogurt.

What is your favourite healthy snack or quick and easy recipe?

These oat and nut bars I made recently. 

And the naughty treat that you can't resist?

Puddings!

You have amazing skin and gorgeous long hair - how do you look after it? Can you recommend any life-saving products?

Oh thanks! I think a lot of it is down to my healthy diet which is rich in omegas and healthy fats (I eat a LOT of avocado, oils, nuts, oily fish, etc.) and I drink lots of water.

I also use Moroccan oil on my hair, which is amazing, and Dermologica products on my skin, and religiously clean it morning and night.

A few more beauty products that Chloe uses can be found on her lovely blog, here.

Stay tuned to learn more about Chloe as well as how I got on (and all that I learned!) taking one of her amazing classes.

In the meantime, you can follow Chloe on Twitter, @Chloe_Pilates, or find her on Facebook.