• 2021 Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide

    Whilst the festive season may be the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be the most wasteful. We've put together some gift ideas from small and eco-friendly businesses, to encourage our community to shop with a conscience. 

    1. Letter boxes from Shiny Happy Party People

    These gorgeous gift filled boxes are the perfect Christmas gift for the eco-conscious person in your life. All of the packaging is recyclable or biodegradable, all gifts are carefully curated, and your gift can be sent directly to the recipient just as if you had wrapped it yourself. You can create your own or choose from a selection of ready made boxes.

    Some of our favourites include 'the cosy one' (pictured below), 'five minutes peace' and 'scrub up'. 

    You can order at shinyhappypartypeople.com and check out their Instagram page here.

    Shop Shiny Happy Party People Christmas Gift Boxes

    2. The Run Box 

    Why not treat that running mad person in your life to their first Run Box? Filled with a seasonal selection of clothing, accessories, nutrition and more, this is the perfect gift for fitness fanatics everywhere. You might even spy some Sundried gear in their offering...

    Order via their website therunbox.co.uk and check out their Instagram here.

    The Run Box Gift

    3. Sundried Jute Yoga Mat

    For the eco conscious Yogi in your life, Sundried's Jute Yoga Mat will make the perfect gift. Featuring a cushioned foam base and sturdy jute layer, they certainly won't be slipping or sliding on this mat. 

    Sundried Jute Yoga Mat

    4. land&water bath and body products

    Everyone loves a pamper, especially after a tough workout or stressful day at work. Land&water provide natural, ethical and sustainable products that will help that special person in your life relax and unwind. 

    We love their Orange,Rosemary and Mint Salt Scrub.

    Order at land-and-water.co.uk and check out their Instagram page.

    Land and Water

    5. Jollie's socks

    As well as being a perfect stocking filler, by gifting a loved one a pair of Jollie's socks, you're also gifting a pair of socks to someone in need. For every pair that they sell, they donate a pair to a UK Shelter. You can buy the pairs separately, or choose a selection to fill a box. 

    You can order at jolliesocks.com and see their Instagram here.

    Jollie's Socks

    6. Sundried's Retro Cycle Jersey

    If you know someone who's an avid cyclist, gifting them Sundried's brand new Retro Cycle Jersey will certainly get you in their good books! With four colourways to choose from, this jersey is the perfect mix of advanced technical features and effortless style. Available for both men and women.

    Sundried Retro Cycling Jersey

    7. Body Me Protein Bars

    Why not treat the fitness fanatic in your life to a tasty, yet protein filled snack? Body Me's protein bars are organic, natural, and vegan friendly, making them the perfect gift for any ethical warrior. If bars aren't their thing, you could always try Body Me's Protein Powders instead.

    We love their Cacao Mint and Cacao Orange, especially during the festive season!

    Order on their website bodyme.co.uk or check out their Instagram

    Body Me Protein Bites

    8. Reusable Cups from Circular&Co 

    Another good stocking filler, Circular&Co's reusable coffee cups are actually made from recycled single use cups! By gifting someone a Circular&Co cup, you're not only helping to prevent further waste in our oceans but also helping rid them of existing waste. They also sell water bottles made from recycled single use plastic bottles, and even recycled homeware gifts. 

    Order via circularandco.com or see their Instagram page.

    Circular and Co Reusable


    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Candy Sully - Personal Trainer and 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 :)

    I've always enjoyed running, though it was historically fun runs and half marathons I'd tend to get involved in. Then my husband sneakily registered me for a full marathon and I returned the favour by booking us in for the multi-stage Marathon des Sables.

    I've since been hooked on ultra marathons and have done several single stage races of up to 54 miles, along with the MdS.

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

    I love to be fit and ready for almost anything. Growing up in South Africa, I led a very active lifestyle so exercise, particularly functional fitness work, supported my outdoor pursuits at the time (spear fishing, rock climbing, kayaking, running and horse riding).

    When I came to the UK I joined the British Army Reserves and ended up assisting the squadron PTI in getting new recruits fitter for basic training. I loved it!

    A few years later I qualified as a Personal Trainer and haven't looked back.

    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?

    I'm currently working towards running The Ridgeway in SE England. I have no idea why that route, but I love the idea of running through sites of historical interest. Also, a friend keeps pressuring me to row the Atlantic with them. I love a challenge, so…?

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

    I am trained in bomb-disposal and worked abroad supporting Humanitarian Mine Action before returning to the UK to raise my daughter.

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

    Life happens! Things happen that are out of our control and our fitness and training plans need to be flexible as a result. I was always so focused on the idea of progression in my and my clients' workout programs but sometimes injuries or life admin just gets in the way and we need to take a breath and not give up.

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

    I tend to do intermittent fasting during the week and have my first meal, which is generally eggs, after 12pm. It works for me; I'm not really a breakfast person.

    I also like to focus on keeping my food as unprocessed as possible.

    Sure; almost everyone likes sweet treats but I try to enjoy these in moderation!

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

    I try to keep exercise fun and mix things up a bit, using different training methodologies. It keeps clients enthusiastic about working out, especially when not everyone likes to exercise.

    Adding in small challenges during a workout also shows clients they can do so much more than they realise and boosts their confidence in their abilities.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    Being a working mum often means I have less time that I'd like to exercise, so I aim for compound movements rather than training isolated muscle groups.

    I love HIIT and tend to use this as my cardio strength training. I make use of a range of free weight options, which I believe helps keep me focused and I'll also use some of these sessions to test out new workouts for my clients. I'll add in a dedicated strength session and three running sessions per week. A typical week's running involves an easy, long and either tempo or intervals session.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    I do a lot of reading and online research, especially into related disciplines. I'm particularly interested in body mechanics and how certain movement dysfunctions can have far-reaching consequences. I'm fixated with balancing the body!

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    There's no excuse; your gym is wherever you are!

    Always listen to your body.

    Even little and often is better than nothing.

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

    New York Cheesecake! I don’t think I'd last more than a day of just cheesecake but what a day…

    Why work with Sundried?

    I love the sustainability of the Sundried range. It's so great that a brand of activewear is out there providing responsible eco-friendly yet durable clothing.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    Summer bodies are made in the winter! I think I saw that in a running magazine and it's so true.

    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
  • Cycle Syncing - how to adapt your training to fit your menstrual cycle

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    As women, we have all experienced the negative impacts that a period can have on our sporting motivation, energy, and performance. However, there is a way to adapt your training so that you can take advantages of the physiological changes which occur during your menstrual cycle.

    Phases of the menstrual cycle

    The first phase, which starts the first day that you get your period and lasts until the day you ovulate, is called the follicular phase. During this phase, oestrogen increases in order to stimulate follicle growth. 

    The first five days of the follicular phase are known as the menstrual phase, which is when the uterus sheds its inner lining.

    The second phase is called the luteal phase. This phase starts after you ovulate and continues until the day you start your next period. During this phase your progesterone levels and body temperature will increase along with a slight increase in oestrogen which will all taper off if the egg is not fertilised.

    In between these two phases is the ovulation phase, where the ovary releases a mature egg.

    menstrual cycle stages graphic

    Working out the length of your menstrual cycle

    Cycles can last between 23-36 days. In order to figure out the length of your cycle and when each phase occurs, there are a few simple things you can track.

    Once ovulation occurs, your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) will rise, which is sustained until progesterone levels begin to drop and menstruation starts again. The day just before this temperature shift, is the day you ovulated. Tracking your temperature shifts, by taking your BBT each morning with a basal thermometer, will give you a picture of your cycle length and what day ovulation typically occurs.

    Cervical fluid also changes during your menstrual cycle and can help predict when you are going to ovulate. Before ovulation your body makes more mucus as an egg starts to ripen and after ovulation you will suddenly have much less cervical mucus.

    How to train with your menstrual cycle

    There is currently limited research regarding exercising with your menstrual cycle but some studies have identified factors which may influence your workouts.

    Firstly, the rise in core temperature which occurs after ovulation can affect how quickly you fatigue during exercise. Specifically, during the luteal phase, time to fatigue is reduced in hot and humid conditions.

    Insulin sensitivity has been identified as higher during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle due to increased levels of oestrogen. This means that you need less insulin to keep blood glucose levels in the normal range and keep your cells supplied with glucose. During this time, carbohydrates are used more efficiently and doing higher intensity training is ideal. This also lines up perfectly with a peak in energy levels.

    During the second half of your cycle, when your body is more resistant to insulin, it has a hard time properly storing glucose. As a result, aerobic efforts are more advantageous during this time. This coincides with a drop in all hormones and energy levels.

    Cycle syncing week by week

    Now, let's get into specifics. As a general guideline, training with your menstrual cycle is broken down into a 4-week period which can be customised to your cycle and your needs.

    The first half of your follicular phase (week 1): The ramp-up

    The first week of your menstrual cycle is the perfect stage to begin increasing the intensity and load of your training. This is the time to 'prime' yourself for maximum capacity and a great opportunity to begin introducing interval workouts and heavy lifting. Be sure to include extensive warm-ups and cool-downs as you are beginning to ramp things up from a recovery period.

    The second half of your follicular phase (week 2): High load/intensity

    The second half of the follicular phase rolls right into ovulation. Take advantage of a peak in energy and incorporate a few workouts that use maximum efforts. This would be the perfect time to attempt a personal best or lace up your racing shoes. 

    The first half of your luteal phase (week 3): Aerobic efforts

    Immediately after ovulation comes the first week of the luteal phase. During this time, it is important to concentrate on aerobic training with moderate loads and less intense efforts. As you begin to move towards the second half of your luteal phase, it is essential that you begin to taper off your training according to how your body is feeling. Be sure to remain hydrated and be mindful that your core temperature has increased.

    The second half of your luteal phase (week 4): Easy training and recovery

    This phase is easily identifiable by your PMS symptoms, which will begin to become more prominent. During this time, you should only engage in light activity and ensure that rest is a priority. When your period begins, continue to rest. Only begin to ramp things up once it tapers off and you begin to enter a new cycle.

    Don’t stress if things aren’t perfect

    Rest assured, if your period falls on the day of an important workout or event, you are not doomed to failure. The most important thing you can do is show up well rested, fuelled, and with a positive mindset. Stress can greatly interfere with sex hormone production and so being mindful about managing your anxiety is the best recommendation for training with your menstrual cycle.

    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
  • Joséphine Cousin - Yoga Instructor and Ambassador

    Shop Sundried's Active Life Collection

    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

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    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. 

    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