• Joséphine Cousin - Yoga Instructor and Ambassador

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    How did you first discover your love for yoga?

    I discovered yoga thanks to my mother who had been practising it and meditation for years. At first I was only going to really sweaty power yoga class and was not really a fan of the more.

    What sets yoga apart from other fitness disciplines?

    Yoga is not a fitness discipline. It is so much more than that. The asanas (physical postures) are only one of the eight pillars of yoga. With asanas you will gain in flexibility, strength and mobility. But it is only the tip of the iceberg: you learn to slow down, to connect with your breath and your body, to listen to your body. Yoga is a lifestyle and a mindset, it is about living your authentic life. In yoga you must put your ego aside. Yoga does not have the competitive aspect that other fitness discipline have, your sole focus should be yourself and not others.

    How has yoga improved your life?

    Yoga has improved my life on so many different levels. Apart from the physical benefits (I am more flexible and strong), it has taught me to slow down, connect with myself. I am a bit hyperactive, always doing a thousand different projects. I did not listen to my body telling me I needed to rest. I also used to be really anxious and impulsive and through my yoga journey I have learned (and I am still learning) to put things in perspective.

    How often do you practice yoga?

    I try to practice yoga everyday. When I say practice yoga I do not mean a one hour class plus a meditation. Even 10 minutes of yoga every morning can really shift your whole day. 10 minutes before bed or when coming home from work can really help wind down. Which is why, on my instagram page, I offer quick energizing morning flows to start your day feeling relaxed and energised or to unwind after a long day of work.

    What advice would you give to someone thinking of trying yoga for the first time?

    I would say to go for it and be kind to yourself. Some students might feel a bit frustrated at the beginning because they are not able to do every postures and variations. Which is why it is vital to let the teacher know you are a beginner so she/he can help you adapt the postures to your body. Yoga should always be adapted to the practitioner and not the other way around.

    If you are interested in getting into Yoga, Sundried's kit is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned athletes. Shop our Gym and Yoga Collection today. 

    Tell us something unusual we may not know about you:

    I am not just a yoga teacher but also a Law student, I just passed the bar exam. I LOVE yoga but I love having multiple activities. I think yoga can and must be made accessible to everyone, even those with very busy jobs.

    Do you follow a specific diet plan?

    I do not really believe in diets. I am plant-based so obviously I am a strong advocate for eating lots of fruits and veggies and eating less animals products, for environment and health reasons. However, I think the diet culture (calorie counting, restrictions) has had negative impacts on people's mental and physical health. I believe that a balanced diet should be delicious in order to last long-term.

    How do you keep your knowledge up to date?

    Learning more about Yoga is a never ending journey. I sign up to various workshops and follow modules on specific aspects of yoga. I can really nerd out when it comes to yoga.

    Why work with Sundried?

    Ahimsa is a principle in yoga which basically means do no harm. For me this principle can be implemented in our daily lives, in various ways, for instance not harming our planet. The fashion industry is the second largest pollutant after the oil industry. Sundried is sustainable and ethical brand whose products last long-term. I have been using (a lot) their yoga mat for 4 years now. It is still intact and has not frayed yet, as opposed to some of my other yoga mats.

    What is your favourite fitness quote?

    My favourite yoga quote is more of a saying really: the posture is not goal. Being able to do the splits and handstands is not the goal of yoga. When practising yoga, you learn to put your ego aside and to appreciate your body for its abilities, to make peace with yourself.The true goal of yoga is to attain a state of bliss and peace.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Sarah Goddard - Personal Trainer and Ambassador

    Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

    I swam competitively from the age of 7 to 17. I swam 7 times a week including circuit training twice a week within two of the sessions. It taught me a lot about discipline and commitment. I knew I would never make it as a professional swimmer but it didn’t stop me training with anything less than 100% effort.

    If you're interested in starting your own fitness journey, Sundried's Activewear is suitable for people of all abilities. 

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    What do you do for fitness?

    I train 4-5 times a week either in the gym or at home. I do a weight training program, split into the following sessions - chest and triceps, legs, back and shoulders, abs and a HIIT session. I also swim once a week when my son has his swimming lesson. 

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Definitely my two children! On the fitness side it has been the recovery post my second child to the fittest and strongest I have ever been at the age of 38. After my second child I had Diastasis recti (ab separation), severe lower back pain, core muscles I could not engage and muscles that felt like jelly. It was a long and painfully slow recovery process, but it had to be done correctly. I couldn't do any jumping exercises until over one year postpartum and I could barely lift any weights. 

    What are your goals?

    To continue to become fitter and stronger. To improve flexibility, to do pull ups and walking handstands. And most of all to keep enjoying my fitness journey.

    How to you overcome setbacks?

    The key to overcoming setbacks is to be kind to yourself and to be patient. Setbacks are tools for improvement. Take the negative and change it into at least two positives. Take the time to understand the reason behind the setback, is it mental or physical or something else. Take the time also to recover properly and trust the process, don’t try and take any shortcuts or the next setback will be even bigger.

    What advice would you give your younger self?

    • Find a sport or exercise you enjoy doing rather than what other people think you should do/is popular.
    • Consistency is key, motivation will come and go but if you stay consistent through these times you will always progress.
    • Results do not happen overnight, train hard and be patient.
    • Confidence is necessary, it is not conceited. You need to be confident in your own strength and abilities. This has been the biggest game changer for me 
    • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, be the best that you can be, and remember that social media is a highlights reel.

    Who inspires you?

    My biggest inspirations have been my virtual trainers Kayla Itsines and Kelsey Wells. After I stopped swimming competitively I lost my way a little with fitness. For years I dipped inconsistently in and out of mainly cardio based training until I came across Kayla Itsines on Instagram. She changed the way I exercised and really helped me commit again to becoming fit and healthy. I used her training for years even before and after my children. I now mainly train with Kelsey Wells on the app Kayla created, as I fell in love with weight training and physically to start with I couldn't do the more HIIT style training after my second child. 

    Do you follow a specific nutrition plan?

    I have been gluten free since 2009, I don’t have the official celiac diagnosis due to the doctors not telling me to start eating gluten again before the test, but the likelihood is that I am celiac. Even after 11 years of gluten free eating, if I eat the smallest amount by mistake it makes me ill. I also avoid refined sugar as for me I found it really is highly addictive. I ended up with a very unhealthy relationship with it as I couldn't eat it in moderation. This doesn't mean I don't eat treats, I used to have a cake business and I love baking so my focus is baking healthier treats for the family. Other than that I eat mindfully, I actually love healthy food, but I don't deprive myself if I want something not so healthy. It's all about balance. 

    Why work with Sundried?

    I love what the brand stands for, they are passionate about the environment. Their Eco Charge collection is made of recycled coffee grounds and their Eco Core range is made from recycled plastic bottles. Not only is it committed to reducing waste and helping to save the environment the products are beautiful, comfortable, wear well, and are extremely affordable.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • The healthy trends that are damaging your teeth

    Sundried Water Bottle

    We are constantly inundated with new health trends that are supposedly good for our bodies. I've been in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for nearly 11 years, and have seen my fair share of diets and detoxes during this time. When I started studying Dentistry in 2017, I soon began to notice how certain ‘healthy eating’ or ‘detox’ fads are not conducive to an individual’s dental health.

    So, what exactly are the health trends, ‘harmless habits’, and diets causing poor oral health in our population? 

    Hot lemon water

    Starting the day with a glass of hot water with a slice of lemon is becoming increasingly popular as a detox method amongst the health conscious. Fans of this trend believe that it promotes a flatter stomach and ‘glowy’ completion. But these drinks aren’t doing your teeth any good.

    The lemon acidity can cause enamel erosion and expose the underlining yellower dentine which can cause sensitivity and ruin your pearly white smile.

    If you don’t want to give up your morning citrus beverage, then try these modifications to protect your teeth:

    • Use cold water. Warm water is a better solvent, so the acids in hot lemon water are more available to erode the enamel.
    • Reduce the strength of your glass to dilute the citric acid.
    • Use a straw so that the juice is sent to the back of your mouth, bypassing your teeth.
    • Rinse your mouth out with water to remove any acidic residue.
    • Wait an 30-60 minutes before you brush your teeth as acid softens the enamel and brushing softened enamel can damage it.
    • Consider switching from lemon juice to a couple of drops of lemon essential oil instead.

    Herbal Teas

    Green tea is packed full of health-boosting antioxidants, but it can cause tooth surface staining. Tea varieties contain tannins, which naturally stain teeth and gums if consumed overtime.

    Rinsing out with water after consuming a cup of tea could help to prevent the build-up of staining and keep your teeth looking pearly white.

    Fruit smoothies and juices

    Fruit is a vital source of nutrients and fibre but when it is blended into a smoothie, the sugars inside become ‘available’ to harm your dentition. The surge in popularity of juicing has led to a rise in enamel erosion, sensitivity and decay.

    Drinking these beverages through a straw or opting for a vegetable smoothie can help protect your smile from damage.

    Apple cider vinegar shots

    Apple cider vinegar has been known to kill bacteria, reduce blood pressure leading to a reduced risk of heart disease, help to lower blood sugar levels, and aid in weight-loss by satiating your appetite. These claims are not wholly support by science and further research is needed to determine the exact benefits of this beverage.

    What is known about apple cider vinegar, is that the acidity of the vinegar will erode your enamel and expose the yellow dentine layer beneath. So, not only can vinegar damage your teeth and cause sensitivity but it will make them look yellow.

    Fluoride-free toothpaste

    Fluoride is the negative ion of the element fluorine. It is naturally occurring and can be found in trace amounts in the soil, air, water and many foods. It has been scientifically proven to help prevent tooth decay because it has a vital role in the mineralisation of your bones and teeth, keeping them hard and strong. Fluoride is even added to water supplies in some places because of its ability to help prevent dental cavities.

    Despite scientific backing, some people believe that fluoride is a harmful toxin, and with the proliferation of these beliefs, new formulas of fluoride-free toothpastes have started to appear. Whilst these toothpastes may freshen your breath and kill bacteria, they are unable to provide the protection against decay that fluoride toothpastes are able to.

    Grazing

    Eating smaller meals frequently is advocated in the health and fitness industry to help us lose weight and maintain a fast metabolism. The reality is that snacking on things like dried fruit throughout the day increases the frequency of sugar consumption and can lead to dental decay.

    When dietary sugars are consumed, acids are produced and so the pH in your mouth falls which results in the subsequent destruction of tooth tissue. If an individual is snacking frequently throughout the day then damage occurs often, and your saliva will not have chance to repair the damage before the next ‘sugar attack’.

    By reducing the frequency of food consumption and chewing sugar free gum after meals it can help to lower the acidity in your mouth and prevent a cavity developing.

    Sports drinks and supplements

    Electrolyte drinks, post-workout protein shakes, and energy bars have their place in sport to help participants stay hydrated, replenish energy supplies, replace minerals, and aid in recovery. However, these products often contain high levels of sugars and acids, which can lead to dental cavities.

    The acids will corrode tooth enamel and make your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria, which feed off the excess sugars in these drinks. Bacteria can then sneak into the cracks of your tooth enamel and cause decay which in turn results in cavities.

    If these products are an essential part of your training regimen, then try these tips to protect your teeth:

    • Rinse your teeth with plain water or mouthwash once you’ve finished consuming them.
    • Wait 30-60 minutes before brushing your teeth to avoid causing more damage to softened enamel and keep you from spreading the acid across your teeth.
    • Use a straw if possible, to keep the sports drink from coming into contact with your teeth.

    Non-dairy milk

    Many individuals are choosing to switch from dairy milk to almond, coconut, cashew or oat milk. There are perks to these milk alternatives, especially if you have a lactose intolerance or avoid dairy for ethical reasons. It’s important to choose your carton wisely, as many of these milk alternatives are sweetened with sugar and do not contain calcium.

    When choosing a non-dairy milk ensure that it is free from added sugars to avoid tooth decay. It’s also important to look for milks that are fortified with at least 120mg of calcium per 100ml as it is an essential mineral that gives our teeth their strength and shape.

    Kombucha

    Kombucha is a drink produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of bacteria and yeast. It’s full of probiotics which can aid in digestion and overall health, however it can cause tooth damage.

    The bacteria in kombucha creates acidity that’s harmful to your teeth’s enamel and this bacterium can also cause the bad bacteria that’s already present in your mouth to grow and create an unhealthy environment for your gums. Additionally, it can stain your teeth.

    It’s important to take precaution if you do consume this drink by reducing your intake and using a straw so that your teeth won’t take a direct hit from the drink’s acidity.

    Whatever new health fad you are tempted by, be sure to do your research first. It might even be worth consulting your doctor or dentist about them too!

    About the author: Laura Smith is an elite level athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more advice from our ambassadors? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Jason Harvey - Personal Trainer and Athlete Ambassador

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    Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up. Sell yourself, this is your page :)

    The last few years I have been taking part in Duathlon - of which I am now lucky enough to represent my age group for Team GB. My first international event was the European Duathlon Championships last March 2020 in Spain - unfortunately immediately following this coronavirus hit and so I have only done one race since. I am currently training to improve my fitness for next year where I have already qualified for the European and World Championships - fingers crossed they go ahead!!

    Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

    I have always had an interest in fitness and have been a Personal Trainer for 12 years - through this time I have tried a few different sports but always enjoyed cycling and running the most. In 2018 I took part in my first Duathlon race to try it out and fell in love with the sport.

    If you're interested in starting your own fitness journey, Sundried's Activewear is suitable for people of all abilities. 

    What are your training goals now?

    Currently I am working a lot on my cycling and running technique (as I have the time to do so before international competition) to reduce injury risk going forwards. My main goals being the World and European Championships next year where I hope to place in the top 3 of my age group.

    Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

    I am currently learning to fly - working towards my Pilots licence.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Take part in sport/exercise activities because YOU enjoy them - not because other people do.

    Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

    I do follow a set nutrition plan - my daily target is 2500 - 2700 calories. This caters for my body fat target and activity level ensuring I have enough energy in the tank for the big sessions. I try to eat 5 times per day - 3 main meals and two snacks. Diet wise I keep a good balance of Carbs and Protein, Fats I try and keep relatively low. My favourite snack is a bagel with peanut butter and chopped up banana!

    What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

    Keeping clients motivated is all about goals - no different to myself. Setting goals and working towards them keeps motivation high.

    Make sure your goals are achievable and not too far away - you can always set a new goal once you have achieved your first!

    Talk us through your training regime.

    Currently I train 6 days per week - my regime consists of 2 strength sessions, 3 bike sessions and 3 run sessions. The sessions vary in goal and purpose depending on the weekly plan and how my body feels.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    Reading! The most valuable tool to us all, and I don't mean insta feeds...I mean books! Learning how the body works and where everything is is the best place to start if you want to improve your knowledge - once you get to grips with this the exercises become easy to develop.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Set achievable goals.
    2. Do what you enjoy.
    3. Health and Fitness is a lifestyle not a diet.

    If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    Flapjacks! Although I'm not sure I'd manage many before they came back up!

    Why work with Sundried?

    I love the Sundried gear! I already recommend it to my clients as I wear it myself - it's affordable, well made and well designed. 

    Favourite fitness quote:

    The body achieves what the mind believes.

    To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • How to cope with pre-race nerves

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    It might have been some time since you appeared on the start line of an event and subsequently your race anxiety is probably at an all-time high. Although it is completely normal to get nervous prior to an event, there are ways to work through that nervous energy so that it does not become debilitating on race day.

    Step 1: Understand that your anxiety is normal

    The first step in managing your nerves before race day is to understand that your anxiety is perfectly normal, and a small amount of nerves can actually enhance performance.

    Step 2: Focus on what you can control

    There are plenty of variables that are out of your control on race day, like the weather, and worrying about them will only drive you crazy. Instead, manage the things that you can control like pre-race sleep, nutrition, and hydration.

    Step 3: Maintain healthy habits

    During stressful times, it is easy to forget about taking care of yourself but if you can maintain healthy habits, you will be doing your body a huge favour. Eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough sleep are both essential components of anybody’s race preparation.

    Step 4: Engage in stress-relieving activities

    Activities that actively encourage meditation and mindfulness are a great way to relax your body and mind. Yin yoga is a great way to take some time out of your busy training schedule to focus on your breathing and clear your mind of any concerns.

    Step 5: Review your training

    It is normal to start doubting your fitness before a race. To combat these fears, take the time to review your months of training. Think back to the long runs you’ve completed, the lengths you’ve swam, or the miles you’ve cycled to put your mind at ease.

    Step 6: Talk to someone

    You are not alone in feeling anxious before race day. If you have trained with a group, chances are that your training buddies are feeling the nerves as well. Whilst over-focusing on anxiety is not likely to help, having a few brief conversations with friends will help you to feel less isolated.

    Step 7: Organise your race day essentials

    In the 2-3 days leading up to the race, it is important to get all your kit and nutrition together. For everything that you cannot pack yet (like your phone) make a packing list to ensure that nothing gets left behind. Getting everything in order will help ease your fears about forgetting something on race day.

    Step 8: Review the course

    Take a look at the racecourse online and talk to previous competitors so that you know what to expect on race day.

    Step 9: Make a race day plan

    Even if it is your first race and you don’t have a specific performance goal, having a race plan will help you feel like you are in control of the day. Talk to a coach or training partner about how you should approach the race and try to get a rough idea of pacing.

    Step 10: Enjoy the process

    It is easy to get caught up in the logistics of a race but always remember to have fun, otherwise; what is the point?

    About the author: Laura Smith is an elite level athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more advice from our ambassadors? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
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