April Adjusts Campaign – Make Your Asana More Effective

So excited to team up with my girl Sophia Butler-Cowdry to bring you our #AprilAdjusts campaign this month. Throughout the month of April we will be taking you through alignment cues for asanas (postures) that frequently come up in yoga classes. As yoga teachers we see a lot of small adjustments that can be made from our students which will instantly allow you to flow more efficiently and effectively through your yoga practice.

We really hope these videos will help clarify some alignment questions that you might have. We’d love to see how you get on with the postures, so let us know how you get on and if you have any questions fire away! 1st #AprilAdjusts dropping this week – the infamous Downward Dog (Adho much śvānāsana), stay tuned!

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||APRIL ADJUSTS✨|| So excited to team up with my girl @sophia.bc to bring you our #AprilAdjusts campaign this month. . Throughout the month of April we will be taking you through alignment cues for asanas (postures) that frequently come up in yoga classes 🧘🏼‍♀️ As yoga teachers we see a lot of small adjustments that can be made from our students which will instantly allow you to flow more efficiently and effectively through your yoga practice 😊 . We really hope these videos will help clarify some alignment questions that you might have. We’d love to see how you get on with the postures, tag us and let us know how you get on. Any questions fire away! 1st #AprilAdjusts dropping this week – the infamous Downward Dog (Adho much śvānāsana), stay tuned! #Yoga #AlignmentTips #AprilAdjusts

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Fit & Flow Retreats – Kefalonia 2-7th Oct 2018

Fit & Flow Retreats in Kefalonia

Tuesday 2nd – Sunday 7th October 2018 Kefalonia, Greece

 

 

So excited to announce my partnership with F Zeen Retreat Hotel as part of my retreat collaborations with Katie Gray (personal trainer and pilates instructor). Our brand of Fit & Flow Retreats encompass luxury health and fitness retreats set in the most tranquil settings around the world. Created by myself (a Personal Trainer & Yoga Teacher) and Katie Gray (a Personal Trainer & Pilates Instructor) our signature package allows you to leave the daily stresses of home life behind and escape to a world of wellbeing.

Nourishing the mind, body and soul through a combination of fitness, nutrition and ultimate relaxation. You can be sure you will leave feeling rested, rejuvenated and restored.

The Location

Fit & Flow Retreats have partnered with F Zeen Retreat Hotel to bring you the perfect wellness getaway. Set on the idyllic Greek island of Kefalonia, F Zeen Retreat is a boutique adults-only hotel, encompassing panoramic views of the Ionian Sea, set in luxurious surroundings, alongside the warmth and friendliness of the local culture.

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What you can expect from your Fit & Flow Retreat stay in Kefalonia:

  • 5 nights stay in the incredible F Zeen Retreat Hotel
  • 2 workouts a day in the glorious surroundings including our yoga hut and the infamous Lourdas Beach
  • Training tailored to your preference including HIIT, Pilates, sunrise/set yoga & meditation 📿 from renown London fitness trainers Katie Gray & Kim Hartwell
  • Locally sourced nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner included
  • ‘Pick-me-up’ smoothies, freshly made nourishing juices and infused herbal tea and coffee
  • 1 x 60 minute spa treatment at the hotel’s Idor Wellness Spa.
  • A wonderful scenic hike of the island.
  • Plenty of time to relax and unwind
  • Hands on instruction and wellness mentoring and advice.
  • 
(+ plenty of exciting add ons including SUP. Jeep safaris Kayaking, 1-2-1 Yoga, Pilates and Personal Training & Greek cooking lessons).
Prices start at just £220/night. For more information & to book click here. We can’t wait to help you to feel wonderfully rested, rejuvenated and restored.
Sending health and happiness,
Kim & Katie x
Fit & Flow Retreats 
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What Your Yoga Teacher Wants You to Know if You’re New to Yoga – 6 Yoga Woes Debunked

I’ve been with my husband for the whole time I’ve been teaching (quite a few years now!). He has not once (that I recall) stepped foot into a public class of mine. Either HIIT or Yoga. Cry! Poor Kimmy. Lol, but all jokes aside…This is TOTALLY fine by me. Some people love classes, some people don’t. I quite love the fact that we keep some parts of our lives separate – we have a lot of it together.  However, what I do know (even if he doesn’t say so himself) is that the reasons he’s probably not coming are the same reasons so many others also don’t come!

So let’s try and make it a little less daunting for you if you’re in the same boat – particularly for yoga. Yoga classes are exciting. Fitness classes are exciting. You can gain a phenomenal amount of energy from those around you in class, and you will learn A TON.

Let’s debunk some common yoga class woes of newbies..

Stepping into your 1st yoga class

Oh I hear ya…going to your 1st ever (or almost 1st ever) yoga class? Here’s a few words that might spring to mind – or at least I remember what sprang to mine…I’m scared, nervous, I have no idea what to expect, I’m “not flexible enough” to be here, I’m not “as good as the person next to me (who looks like she’ll be AMAZING), why is everyone breathing weirdly, I don’t have a mat, am I even wearing the right clothes for this? Am I even in the right type of class to start with? Presumably we’ll just lay around stretching?…I say these things with humour knowing that was ME for a pretty long time. That’s probably why it’s taken you till now to even turn up. Turning up is the half of it I PROMISE.

So as a friendly yoga instructor (at least I hope I’m friendly), let me help get rid of these perfectly normal feelings you might have going into a yoga class. Boys I’m talking to you too (if not more!) – hubby take note.

Wearing Seafolly Australia

6 Yoga Woes Debunked

1.I don’t know what I’m doing

“I’m totally going to look like a twat for the entire class” – guess what, loads of people don’t know what they’re doing! Also, guess what…yoga isn’t meant to look a particular way. It’s about listening to your body, moving with YOUR body and YOUR breath, that is going to be and look completely different from the person next to you. Trust the process. As my good friend Phoebe Greenacre always says, it’s called a yoga PRACTICE not a yoga PERFECT. Keep turning up to your mat. Maybe do some at home yoga videos to build confidence between going to class. Although be aware the hands on adjustment and advice you’ll get in class will allow you to create good alignment from the get go. Follow the lead of others in class. Get to grips with the postures (these will likely be similar in most classes), then at a later stage the breath (what we call ujjayi breathing) will come. Patience. Practice. Perseverence. I spent a good number of classes just looking around and following – it comes eventually. Then the magic really happens. As for feeling silly? People (like at the gym) are so involved in what they’re doing they’ll barely notice you’re even there.

2.I’m not flexible enough

OK firstly, yoga is so much more than flexibility, but I can appreciate that it’s largely a reason people start practicing – if it brings more yogi’s on mats I’m a happy yoga teacher. Know that flexibility takes time, energy and a focus on practices like stretching, mobility drills and yes yoga will help. Yep, you just read it…yoga will help any perceived inflexibility that you have. It helps you reach greater ranges of motion in your muscles both on and off the mat. So guess what? That woe is debunked!

3.I’m not as good as the girl next to me

Don’t compare yourself to anyone in the room, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the purely physical form of the practice. Yoga is so much more than that. Too often the ego mind takes over. The postures in yoga didn’t even exist until latter day modern yoga as we now know it. You are you, in all your glory. Your yoga journey has nothing to do with the person next to you. Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else chapter 20. Comparison is the thief of joy and there is absolutely no place for it on your yoga mat. Absolutely be inspired by others but know everyones bodies are different. Just because a gymnast or a dancer can pretzel themselves does not make them any better or worse yogi than you or the next person. You are in a place of non judgement. Work with what you have, be grateful for what you have, be open to what yoga can bring you both on and off the mat.

4.Why is everyone breathing weirdly

OK one thing I want anyone new to yoga to know before stepping in a class room. Yoga is meditation in movement. Meditation involves an acute focus on the breath. By focussing on the breath we are conscious and present in the moment. If we can keep the breath steady throughout challenging parts of our yoga practice this will transfer to times of challenge or stress in our day to day lives. We become more mindful. In yoga we move with the breath – our ujjayi breath. There may be times when that breath might not serve you, but in general we allow our bodies to deepen into the practice further, to still the mind, to explore postures further when we breathe. Without going into too much detail (far past the scope of this post) of why we breath the way we do in yoga, for the newbie, just try to focus on your breath as much as you can. In yoga, this is generally inhaling through the nose and exhaling out through the nose. Throughout the class your flow and the asanas (postures) will challenge that breath. If you feel like you’re wrestling to keep the breath going you’re pushing too hard into the poses. Reset, take a downward dog or childs pose, reconnect with the breath. Even for avid yogi’s we listen to the body and the breath. Our bodies are different every time we turn up to the mat. Listen to what it’s telling you, our bodies are way way way smarter than we give them credit for.

5.I don’t have a mat, am I wearing the right clothes?

You don’t necessarily need a mat when you first start. Most (if not all) studios supply mats, usually at a small charge. Explore the feeling of different mats, see if you enjoy your yoga classes. Eventually the time will come when you’ll want your own, but it’s not imperative at the beginning. Where comfortable clothing, usually sweat wicking leggings/shorts and a tank or t-shirt will do fine. Be prepared that some classes can get sweaty (depending on which you take). Just remember to wipe down your yoga mat as courtesy to the next person using it – usually cleaning tools are provided in class.

6.Which class should I take? I’m guessing we’re going to just lay around for a while?

Depending on which class you’re going to will dictate what you’ll do. There’s lots of different styles and types so be sure to read the description given by the studio and maybe research the teachers background. This will allow you to build a picture of what to expect. As a beginner I’d strongly suggest trying Level 1 based classes. They will teach the basics and the foundations for you to go on with your practice. Vinyasa are usually more fast flowing, Hatha are slower, Yin you hold postures for a lot longer. Whichever you go to know that your teacher will support you and guide you so you will never be far from help. Unless you’re in a specifically slower paced class or Yin, you’re not likely to lay around and stretch (sorry!) People constantly tell me how surprised they are at the challenge of the practice. Relaxation is sometimes a happy side effect of yoga, it is not a function of yoga. Yoga is a discipline requiring strength, balance, focus, there’s a lot more to it than might meet the eye.

The main thing to remember?

Have fun with it. Don’t take it too seriously. Yoga is for EVERYONE. If you have a body, you can do yoga. Ask your teacher after class to explain anything you didn’t understand. Don’t be scared off if the first few classes were very challenging – they’re designed to be challenging – even for fully fledged yogis! Now get your butt to class and start enjoying the journey that yoga can bring you (yes you too boys!) – just GO FOR IT! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Let me know how you get on or any of your yoga class woes, I’d love to help you debunk them and get you grooving on your yoga mat!

Still unconvinced? Check out my post on What Is Yoga? – In a Cheeky Nutshell or The Benefits of Yoga for Your Strength Training for more info.

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

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Full Body TRX Workout

Need some Monday workout motivation? Last week my girl Zoe Shelley and I hit up Equilibrium, London for a TRX training session 🔥Here’s what we got up to, grab yourself a TRX and you can try it too!

Aim for 15 reps of each first with 45s rest. Try once through and increase when your confidence does.

. ⭐️TRX Squats

⭐️TRX Reverse Lunge Each Leg

⭐️TRX Low Row

⭐️TRX Sprinter Start

⭐️TRX Power Pull

⭐️TRX Pikes

⭐️TRX Gymnastic Swings

⭐️TRX Shoulder Stand V-Sits

⭐️Double TRX Pikes

[The handstand is the pinnacle but very possible with consistency]

.It’s amazing what you can do with just a #TRX – perfect for travel too – you can pick them up at a really decent price nowadays on Amazon.

Would LOVE to hear how you get on with it. Happy Monday! Let’s go to work! 💪🏼

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

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||MONDAY MOTIVATION⚡️|| Always a smile on my face training with this kid @z_shelley by my side. Last week we hit up #Equilibirum with @nikoalgieri for a TRX training session 🔥Here’s what we got up to & you can too! . RG: @wearequilibirum 💦 Aim for 15 reps of each first with 45s rest. Try once through and increase when your confidence does. . ⭐️TRX Squats ⭐️TRX Reverse Lunge Each Leg ⭐️TRX Low Row ⭐️TRX Sprinter Start ⭐️TRX Power Pull ⭐️TRX Pikes ⭐️TRX Gymnastic Swings ⭐️TRX Shoulder Stand V-Sits ⭐️Double TRX Pikes . [The handstand is the pinnacle but very possible with consistency] . It’s amazing what you can do with just a #TRX – perfect for travel too⚡️Save & tag a friend 👯‍♀️ you’d do this workout with! Would LOVE to hear how you get on with it. Happy Monday! Let’s go to work! 💪🏼 #monday #motivation #training #workoutvideos

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How to Make the Gym a Less Scary Place

Perhaps your a new gym bunny (or previous gym bunny getting back into their groove after a while). I wanted to write about something that truly resonated with, even now – GYMTIMIDATION. Going into the gym, not having a clue where to start. Feeling totally intimidated. Totally uninspired. It’s TOTALLY a “thing”. It even happens now to your good friend Kim the personal trainer – shock horror.

Gymtimidation

We’ve all been there, new gym, maybe new to the whole training game altogether. You step into the gym, don’t know where anything is, or what to do….freak out, make a bee line for the treadmill. Stay on said treadmill as long as you can having 1) worked out how to turn the damn thing on 2) fiddled around with your music and walked a bit 3) Run for a bit, got totally puffed out at some stage, slowed it down ran (crawled, cried) for the exit, swiftly gone home, never to gym again.

I say that I resonate because I was that girl in the gym. I stuck to what I knew, I stayed on my trusty treadmill and did my best to ignore the other goings on. Classes, nah. Weights nope. Jogging and fleeing, that was my game. Slowly I began to work my way round this funny place we call the gym. A place where people are doing all sorts of wild things, but mainly, hopefully bettering their health. Time for you to feel comfortable about doing the same.

Here’s my top tips for avoiding the gymtimidation:

  1. Drag Your Mate Along For the Ride- That buddy of yours that’s roughly on the same fitness path as you? Maybe slightly more or less fit than you? Get them involved! It needs to be someone that will keep your spirits high, keep you motivated and accountable. Don’t choose someone way out of your fitness league it will just make you feel intimidated. Agree to a gym schedule. Doesn’t have to be every time you go to the gym. Maybe 1-2 times a week to start with. You could agree to do a gym session or a gym class. Then both of you are accountable to each other to show up. Having your buddy by your side will make it an altogether less scary experience from the get go. We all take gym a bit too seriously if you ask me! It will also be a lot more fun and you can learn from one another. Once I found a training partner (Miss Tara Margulies), the rest became a lot more interesting! No more dreaded treadmill gym sessions.
  2. Take a Class – Even if it’s on your own. Pluck up the courage (and I know it takes courage!) to go to a gym class. Explore different ones. If you didn’t like one, try another. There’s so many ways to get fit you don’t have to love all of them. You’ll resonate with some teachers more than others. The more you go the easier it will become. This I promise you. Not only will you learn proper technique and form, classes usually bring community. No more lonely gym workouts! Even if you’re not one to socialise a lot at the gym, its worth going to explore different training methods. It’s your trainers job to make you feel comfortable, and make you walk out of the class feeling feel like you’ve achieved something (e.g. like a TOTAL bad ass )
  3. Take up a New Training Discipline – If you’re struggling to keep consistent at the gym it’s probably because you’re not enjoying it. I know I struggle with motivation in getting to the gym if I lack focus or am doing training that I don’t enjoy doing. Whilst there’s an element of sacking it up and getting on with training. It’s worth finding a fitness discipline you enjoy, otherwise it’s not sustainable. Try pilates or yoga, maybe even find a tennis court or climbing wall. There really are so many training opportunities. You will find some you love, some you hate. I hate spinning for example, so I don’t do it. Rock climbing – I’m obsessed, doesn’t even feel like I’m training!
  4. Make a Plan – Doesn’t have to be some crazy whacky exercise programme in place, just a plan to stick to. Training works when you provide progressive overload to the body. Have a set of exercises, work out how to progress them (adding weight, improving form, adding repetitions or sets) then stick to it. Be consistent. A good training regime usually has the same sort of solid movements e.g. squats, deadlifts, repeated a progressively overloaded over time. Get a plan. Stick to it. Ask for help if you need it. Trainers that are “walking the gym floor” and not with a client should be on hand to help if you need it. Let’s keep you safe, consistent and focused. Training for a specific event is even better. Training for something like a 5k, 10k or maybe even a half marathon or mud run, whatever it is, it will give you the motivation you need to succeed long term. 
  5. Music to Motivate – A big saviour of mine is music. If I’m feeling unmotivated or a bit timid at the gym there’s nothing like some solid beats to get me going. It allows you to get out of your head and into your training. Remember people are so wrapped up in their own training they won’t even notice what you’re doing. We tend to assume people are judging us, but really they’re just doing what they gotta do – like you. I use Samsung’s Gearfit Headphones which are perfect, because they’re wireless I don’t have to worry about them getting in the way.
  6. Get Some Strong Fit Kit – Nothing says motivation like new awesome gym kit. Grab yourself your favourite fitness kit and rock it. I mean it, I know it’s not always cheap but long term gym motivation wise it’s worth it. Even if you have one great outfit you feeling insane in! Get it. Work it. If you feel good, you’ll train good. Get in the zone. Get at it! I’m loving Adidas’ new warp knit leggings because they look great and are super comfortable and breathable for those sweaty workouts.

It’s all going to be ok my friends. With a lot of courage, commitment and confidence the gym will become a more friendly and familiar place. Don’t worry; you’ve totally got this. Let me know if you have any questions on how to get going. Better yet get yourself a personal trainer who can also make it a much nicer process for you. They can iron out any imbalances going on in your body and formulate the best plan for your body!

Happy gym going friends!

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

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