TEEN FITNESS FOR BODY & BRAIN - MINDFUL HIIT FOR TEENAGE GIRLS

Welcome to Train Body Brain

The growing numbers of young people receiving treatment for mental health disorders has been headline news over this year. More than a third of girls report symptoms of distress according to a major survey of 14-year-olds carried out for the Department for Education and 37% reported feeling unhappy, worthless or unable to concentrate.

Experts blame the multiple pressures teenagers face: academic stresses from school, pressures from friends and social media and worries about family life. As parents we’re often unaware of the anxieties our teenagers are suffering, and even if we are, we don’t always know how to help them.

Through my own experience of raising teenagers I’ve discovered the impact of regular exercise on wellbeing and mental health. I also seen that mindful meditation helps girls to build resilient minds. 

This has led me to develop a unique programme of classes for teenage girls which combine high-intensity interval training with positive messages followed by mindful meditation. The combination of serotonin release from the exercise combined with tuning out negative thoughts through mindfulness is powerful.

Girls leave feeling with strong bodies and resilient minds. It’s not about being skinny or curvy - it’s just about looking after our bodies and brains and empowering ourselves.

My classes are for girls aged 13-18 and run weekly in Primrose Hill, London on Mondays and Tuesdays and Framlingham, Suffolk on Fridays.

My 45 MINUTE classes are ABOUT YOU -  both in body and brain.

“I loved how Wendy changed the exercise move frequently which meant that I didn’t get at all bored throughout the class. I also enjoyed the mindfulness which I think is the best ending to a workout and helped us feel relaxed.” — Ella, Year 10, aged 1

Find out more about my Classes >

Read more about me >

What is mindfulness?

 

The 'Friends' Illusion

~ 3 minute read ~

We all know that movies and media can make us feel like we have to look a certain way. But they can put pressure on us to BEHAVE in certain ways too.

One example of this that’s especially relevant to you girls is the pressure to make your lives appear funny and sparkly all the time. Well-loved (and rightly so!) TV-shows like Friends, and insta-famous girl squads like Taylor Swift’s, tell us that we should have a close gang of friends, or a big friendship group who always hang out altogether. And yes, some people do have that and - most importantly - do enjoy those kinds of friendships.

And now, with Snapchat and Instagram, you’re even more exposed to this ideal of having a ‘tribe’ who you spend all your time with. If you don’t have ‘your people’, then seeing others on Instagram who seem to be part of inseparable best-friend cliques can be really upsetting, and you might find yourself comparing your life and friendships to theirs.

WHAT IF you don’t have a big group of friends (in equal boy/girl ratios, of course)?

What if you prefer spending time with people one-on-one?

What if you don’t even LIKE being in big, loud conversations with lots of people?

The problem with this Friends inspired ideal is that it can leave you feeling like there’s something wrong with YOU!

And you’re not alone in that! Even on-the-rise actress Elle Fanning says she gets really anxious when she looks on instagram too much and sees what seems to be everyone else hanging out and having a ball with a big group of friends.

GOOD NEWS IS, GIRLS:

there isn’t only one ‘best’ way of conducting your friendships. The Friends ideal - sorry to say - is actually incredibly rare if it exists at all - and that’s OK!

Friendship isn’t only one thing and there doesn’t need to be any perfect version of it. 

Plus the chances are that other people’s shiny instagram-depicted friendships aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. You only see the carefully chosen snapshots of those people’s lives, and even if they look like they’re having the most incredible fun there’s no way of knowing how they were actually feeling about it. 

Friendship isn’t just one thing, nor should it be. It changes from person to person, and also from day to day. We’re all so different that there’s no single ‘best’ or ‘perfect’ that could possibly work for everyone!

Instead of trying to fix something that isn’t broken, and holding all your friendships up to an impossible Hollywood/Instagram standard, try pursuing a version of friendship that works for you - whatever that may be.

Accept that you do things your own way, and if that works for you then it’s your own version of perfect.

Resolve to be Resilient in 2017

YOUR 2017 RESOLUTION OF RESILIENCE - THE ONLY RESOLUTION YOU NEED TO MAKE.

Right girls, if you make one new years resolution, make it this:

AMP UP YOUR 2017 RESILIENCE.

This 3 minute blog explains what resilience is and how having a good supply of it can help you on your quest to be 21st century women warriors of wonder, contentment and calm for the rest of your brilliant lives.

LIFE IS GOING TO THROW KNOCKBACKS, KNOCKDOWNS AND KNOCKOUTS RIGHT AT YOU. NO ONE ESCAPES THIS - NO ONE!

SO LET’S LEARN HOW TO PRACTICE RESILIENCE GIRLS - TAKING BACK CONTROL AND KICKING THE ASS OF DISAPPOINTMENT AND HIS ASSOCIATES. HERE’S HOW.

EMBRACE LIFE’S LET DOWNS.
When the bad stuff hits the fan it’s us and only us who decide what happens next. If you change the way you respond to the let downs you can actually turn them into something that strengthens you instead of floors you. Yeah yeah sounds good on paper I hear myself (and you!) thinking - but let’s explore further and see.

 

FALLING APART MAKES YOU STRONGER.
Sometimes we need stuff that destabilises us and makes us fall apart, because then we can come back together exactly as we need to be: usually stronger, wiser, more secure,  and more badass than ever.

VICTIM (NEVER) OR MODERN DAY BOADICEA? THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
When it all goes wrong you have three choices girls: to stay down, fall further, or rebuild yourself to be better than ever. For 2017 I am choosing the last one. Staying down is part of the healing process - but then you need to STAND UP, DRESS UP, AND SHOW UP for yourself with the resilience of a modern day BOADICEA.

BAD THINGS HAPPEN FOR US, NOT TO US.
Let's do a bit of reframing here - if we look at the bad thing as happening TO US we become the victim. As we know, this is NEVER an option, simply no good can come from it. Instead we look at the bad thing happening FOR US - like a gift from the universe, if you like. Setbacks and perceived failures are more often than not opportunities in disguise. Mix it up a bit and try to look at falling down/failure/disappointment/heartache as an opportunity - more often than not they turn out to be the same thing, I promise you.

FEEL FREE TO FEEL THE FEELING.
It can be very tempting to bury and run away from painful feelings through any number of distractions of your own personal choice. Like being a victim this is also not an option. Although in the short term you are easing your pain you are only holding up your healing process. So let’s just feel the feelings and crack on with this resilience thing. Feelings actually have a beginning middle and an end - just accept the process and know there is an end and it will pass.

AND THAT'S OK!

AND THAT'S OK!

GIVE THE DOWN TIMES A FIST PUMP.

Why? Because the challenging down times give us the best opportunity to grow, flourish and appreciate the good times. So give disappointment/ heartache/grief, a fist pump for helping make you the gorgeous modern day resilient gladiators that you are becoming!

Make love not war with your body

2-minute read

OK girls, we need to talk about self love and body image this week. Self love can be an off putting term but it seems to me that it holds the key to a lot of ease in your life - both now and in the future. Use the following affirmations to keep negative mental chatter in check over the festive period and beyond.

THERE IS NO PERFECT BODY.

You are perfect exactly as you are at this moment in your life. 

YOUR BODY HAS FEELINGS TOO.

I find it helpful to think of my body as having a personality who is getting a lot of flack from the brain daily and sometimes even minute to minute.  “I wish that YOU didn’t look like this, YOU would be much better if you were this instead”, etc etc. Well quite frankly if I were my body I would be feeling a little on the doomed side! But this is what we are doing TO OURSELVES, when we think this way. What’s the point? LET IT GO AND LIVE INSTEAD.

ACCEPT AND REALLY DIG YOUR BODY SHAPE.

Because at the end of the day why waste your life on trying to change something that doesn’t actually need changing? If you switch your focus to supporting your body mentally and physically everything else will fall into place.

GIVE YOUR BODY A MORNING PEP TALK.

Instead of talking to your body in a negative even fearful way of a morning as you stand in front of the mirror, stop your habitual thinking in it’s tracks and replace (for example) “oh my God if only my legs/tummy/bum didn’t look like that” with “I actually love how my legs/tummy/bum look like that."
Not fighting or resenting or feeling afraid of it, but accepting and even loving your own body. 

UNFOLLOW YOUR NEGATIVE MENTAL CHATTER. 

Focussing on the so called “inadequacies” of your body is soul destroying and pointless and just becomes a habit. A habit you need to break.

Observe any negative mental chatter your mind is aiming at your body and decide not to collude with it - BECAUSE IT IS LIKE LISTENING TO A BITCHY FRIEND WHO ISN’T ACTUALLY EVEN TELLING THE TRUTH!! SO UNFOLLOW THEM RIGHT NOW.

FOLLOW YOUR UNIQUE INNER QUALITIES AND SHOWER THEM WITH LIKES.

Beauty doesn’t come from having the so called perfect life/ boyfriend/ hair/ body shape/ face / friends/ intelligence - it comes from developing, nurturing, appreciating and loving the things on the inside which ARE UNIQUE TO YOU. Your sense of humour, your intelligence, your kindness, your quirkiness, your forgetfulness, your creativity, your unique take on things and people. 
THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU BEAUTIFUL AND ARE OF TRUE VALUE. 

NOT FAT JUST FULL.

I AM NO NUTRITIONIST but I do know this to be true particularly over the Christmas period: YOU ARE NOT FAT YOU ARE JUST FULL. So elbow that bit of unhelpful negative chatter right off it’s course when it pops up at any point during the hols. Instead relax, enjoy, breathe and go easy on your body because it has feelings too.

AND FINALLY...

THINGS I HAVE LEARNT EVEN BEFORE SOCIAL MEDIA EXISTED:

THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE MORE SUCCESSFUL/FUNNIER/THINNER/FATTER/CURVIER/ CLEVERER WITH MORE FRIENDS AND BETTER HAIR THAN YOU: FACT.

But this does not devalue YOUR BEAUTY, BECAUSE YOUR BEAUTY INSIDE AND OUT ROCKS: FACT. 

DON’T EVER CHANGE, JUST GROW.

Tis the season to be jolly... But what if I'm not feeling it?

HOW TO DEVELOP CHRISTMAS RESILIENCE.

If you're not feeling as merry as you think you should be this Christmas, do not fear because here are 5 ways to tune out your inner Christmas anxiety gangster, and tune into the serene voice and flow of your inner Christmas angel.

As well as being exciting Christmas hols can bring stress - particularly for those of you GCSE warriors revising for January mocks! So if you have moments over the holidays where your family Christmas is falling short of the John Lewis ad ideal - here’s a way to maintain your sane!

Let's do this.

INCREASE XMAS RESILIENCE DECREASE XMAS STRESS:

2. GET BREATHING: THE KARATE BREATHING MEDITATION:

So when all those things that annoy you about your family come to explosion point, take yourself off for 10 minutes to restore your resilience with this KARATE BREATHING EXERCISE. It’s easy. 

  • Sit comfortably, maybe on your bed with back against wall. No rules, whatever works for you. 
  • Close your eyes but keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed, head up.
  • Take in  a deep and cleansing breath, expanding your tummy as you do so and keeping your shoulders relaxed. HOLD THE BREATHE FOR SIX COUNTS BEFORE EXHALING. This is the bit that puts the karate kick into the effectiveness of this exercise. Repeat twice more holding the breath for six counts before exhaling.
  • Next just breathe normally, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
  • If the anxiety gangster starts making noises gently refocus on your breathing, remain in the present moment and feel the air moving in and out of your body.
  • DO THIS FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIKE - EVEN JUST FIVE MINUTES WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF YOU DON’T LIKE TOO MUCH COMMITMENT.

TOP TIPS: Expand your tummy on the in breath - try not to lift your shoulders, and if you are having lots of thoughts it doesn’t matter - YOU ARE STILL MEDITATING! Just keep coming back to the breathe - ENJOY!
POSITVE AFFIRMATION 1: I INHALE RELAXATION I EXHALE STRESS.

2. SET YOUR INTENTION:

It’s so easy to wake up and think: Oh Dear God I’m doomed. Instead, let’s get grateful by setting an intention as soon as you wake up. Something like I AM WILLING TO MAKE THIS THE BEST DAY EVER even though I have tonnes of revision and all of my friends have gone skiing. Remember to take control of your day by choosing what your intention is - and not just leaving your brain to it’s usual habitual negative thinking before you've even had breakfast! 
POSITIVE AFFIRMATION 2: I INHALE THE POSITIVE I EXHALE THE NEGATIVE.

3. GO FIND YOUR FLOW:

So when you feel like you have watched enough Christmas TV and you're down to just the orange creams in the Quality Street, you know it ’s time to FIND YOUR FLOW. You need to find something to completely immerse your brain in. You need to lose yourself in something that holds both a challenge and ease.

Maybe drawing, walking, reading that old fashioned forgotten favourite. Or walk the dog whilst playing uplifting music on your headphones. My personalfavourite for finding my flow is filing! Which leads us neatly onto number 4...

POSITVE AFFIRMATION 3: I INHALE EASE I EXHALE STRUGGLE.

4.  GET ORGANISED:

Clear out a cupboard, heck why not reorganise your whole room! You've got new stuff for Christmas so why not go crazy and get rid of stuff you no longer need (CHARITY SHOP) , make way for the new shiny things and end the day by giving yourself a final Christmas gift of a sparkly reorganised room! And a feeling of smug calm that you know where everything is before 2017 even starts. yay!

POSITIVE AFFIRMATION 4: I INHALE CALM I EXHALE WORRY.

Your parents will be like...

Your parents will be like...

5. GET RESILIENT:

 So here it is, buzzword of the last decade. Let’s face it girls things in life don’t always go our way - fact. So let’s kick the ass of negative thinking by taking on board the following characteristics that the resilient peeps apparently have...

CULTIVATE THE FOLLOWING FOR BECOMING A RESILIENT BAD ASS:

EMOTIONAL AWARENESS:

Resilient people understand what they are feeling and why. Top tip - don’t run away from your feelings - sit with them for a bit and let them pass - they WILL PASS.

PERSEVERANCE:

When you are working toward a goal trust the process, even when it’s not going well don’t give up or lose the trust.

OPTIMISM! NEVER BE A VICTIM"

Resilient people see the positives in most situations with a belief in their own strength. This can shift how you handle a problem from the perspective of being a victim and instead feeling empowered and open to possible solutions to problems.


SENSE OF HUMOUR!

Resilient people often laugh at life’s difficulties which shifts the problem from being a threat to just a challenge.

PERSPECTIVE:

OK so this one is about learning from your mistakes - embrace the mistakes girls don’t run away or be ashamed of them - find meaning in the down times - these not so great experiences are making you stronger, more interesting and wonderful than you already are!!

Resilient Christmas Badass

Resilient Christmas Badass

 

AS WELL AS ALL OF THE ABOVE IF IN DOUBT MAKE SURE YOU FIT IN SOME CHRISTMAS TELLY, A BRISK WALK/MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS IN YOUR ROOM CHANTING THE AFFIRMATION

"I AM ENOUGH, I HAVE ENOUGH, I DO ENOUGH."

AND THEN JUST CHILL YOUR LITTLE CHRISTMAS TIME BOOTS. IT’S ALL GOOD!

MERRY CHRISTMAS GORGEOUS GIRLS CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE IN 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My kind of fitness

To me fitness is not about developing the perfect body

- being thin, finding curves in the right places - there is no such thing.

I believe the serotonin released by exercise not only keeps us fit but also keeps us well.

I believe that 20 minutes is all it takes to get results when working at high intensity.

Time is precious so why waste it doing easy exercise and hanging about. Boredom is the enemy.