REVIEW: MoveGB

What is it?

A nifty little concept and one that might be familiar to some of you already – instead of buying a membership to one gym or studio, you pay for a membership to MoveGB instead, which gives you discounted access to loads of studios and gyms in your area.

It’s still very much a nimble little start-up, being run out of the city of Bath. MoveGB is pretty big over here in Bristol right now. When I arrived here I’d never heard of it, and within a couple of months, adverts on the sides of buses have started driving past me on a daily basis. It’s becoming pretty hard to miss and it’s also expanding around the UK (including in London) big time.

How does it work?

I was given the chance to try out a MoveGB membership in January, and having really missed being on the pulse of what’s happening class wise around the city, I jumped at the chance. It’s a brilliant portal – you can access it on your computer or the app, and access all sorts – bootcamps, yoga, boxing, HIIT, kettlebells, boxing, martial arts and day passes to local spas, pools and gyms (including some of the chains) too.

Memberships vary in price – you get access to more if you more per week, although many classes (say, a massage therapy) might be a kind of “add on”, meaning you pay a little on top of your membership if you want to access them but they don’t fall into your inclusive “bracket”.

I loved the fact one portal showed you all of the classes, gyms, spas and therapies in an area. I also loved searching for classes by type as it really helped me learn what was going on in my new city!

Wait, that sounds familiar…

I naturally compared this product to a similar concept that won’t be named here (clue: it offers Passes to Classes…). It feels like a more stable platform with more realistic, pricing variables so you don’t feel like it’s too good to be true and at any moment you’re gonna get slapped in the chops with a 40% price-hike!

What I got up to

January was a bit of a crazy month and I didn’t use my MoveGB membership nearly as much as I wanted to, but I did try Kettlercise at Kettlercise Bristol, a gym day pass at Pure Gym, an outdoor bootcamp with Functional Fitness, a women’s only boxing bootcamp at Sweat Box Fitness and some yoga at Wild Wolf’s Yoga. So um, now I’ve written that all down, I actually managed to do quite a bit on reflection!

The verdict

I’d usually end a review with a quick conclusion as to whether I give the product a thumbs up or down.

Well, here’s the confession – having learned more about MoveGB during my month’s trial, I fell in love with the place and the concept BIG TIME. So much so, I took a punt, applied for a role they were advertising and (rather amusingly) I now work in the MoveGB Bath HQ!

During the trial I was lucky enough to get a glimpse into the people who worked there, and the ethos of the company… and I liked it a lot. I now I get to see “behind the scenes” I can honestly say it is a phenomenal brand with a big, heart and an exciting future.

And so, if the fact I opted to spend 5 days a week talking about MoveGB for the foreseeable future is a good indicator… I guess you could say I enjoyed my trial enough to recommend it, I guess!

*********************************************************************

The, like, serious bit:

*I was kindly gifted a MoveGB trial pass from a PR agency in return for this review. I also wrote this review before I started working for MoveGB. Obviously my views are favourable or else I wouldn’t have flippin’ well applied to work there, but the above views are all my own and I wasn’t asked to write them. Hell, I wasn’t even ask to write this disclaimer!*

REVIEW: Flex TV

THE BASICS: Flex TV offers social home fitness in the form of a subscription service to an online portal that runs live classes throughout the day, and you attend them via your computer screen.

Classes range from short HIIT sessions to yoga and dance, all available for you to do in your own home (or wherever you choose to sweat). It’s nice to know there are other people sweating in their living rooms, watching along with ya during class, too!

THE HB: Carly

THE CLASS: I tried a few classes on Flex TV during my trial, but my best/funniest/most mortifying experience was definitely when I tried Vera Flow. Maybe a more professional blogger would decide to tell you all about that time they successfully smashed a HIIT class in their living room. Thankfully I know you gals pretty well by now, and reckon you’d rather hear about about that time I got caught in my pants by the builders.

First though – an overview of Flex TV itself. Positives were that it was really good having Flex TV available in January, because it’s been frikkin’ freezing outside and dragging myself to class was NOT happening, despite my initial drive to get back into it after an indulgent Christmas. I liked being able to roll out of bed and pad over to the dining room table for a class. It helped me save time and gave me no excuses when I wasn’t feeling it, especially as a lot of classes were quite short.

The only thing I found tricky was my own problem really, which is inherent laziness, ha! I already know that without a class of people actually physically there around me to stay accountable to, I slack off BIG time, and end up texting instead of actually doing the workout. But I was determined to do this. So, I scheduled a few classes that I wouldn’t usually try, like Vera Flow, to keep my interest up and avoid just instagramming my way through the workout.

My good friend Lara teaches Vera Flow, and from what I’ve heard it’s fun and incorporates some dance and some flow… I signed up for an early morning class. I woke up, had a yawn, had a scratch, rolled out of bed cartoon-style in my pants and my sports bra (that was once light peach and is now washed out grey, mmmmmm), put on the kettle and switched on the computer. The host Naomi was there, bouncy and happy, and ready to teach me.

Three things you should know… although let’s be honest, I think you already know how this story goes.

1. We live on the ground floor, and have massive windows.

2. I like to have the blinds open. Natural light innit?

3. I have no coordination. Like, none. Clumsy ain’t got nuttin’ on me.

So, here I am warming up. Think hair like stig of the dump, grey underwear, bleary eyes, general flumping about. And suddenly I see them. There they are in the carpark opposite the flat, in their van, eating what to my well-trained eye looks like a steak bake from Greggs, and staring in disbelief at the sight before them. I hadn’t spotted them initially because of the glare on their windscreen. I think they probably spotted me when I did my first flump.

steakbake

I met their look of amused horror and realised that I should just own it. “I AM A DELICATE FLOWER!!!” I told myself, enjoying dancing about with my sticky-out hair and in my grey grundies. “I AM FREE TO BE ME!”

They watched for a few more seconds, kind of half mesmorised, half confused, and the rush of embarrassment that I probably should have had, 60 seconds earlier finally hit, at which point I dutifully ran over and close the blinds.

I carried on with my class. It’s too late I know, the vision of my dancing was probably with them all day. But I admit I got over it quite quickly. It’s kind of poetic that I’m watching a window into a studio, and they’re watching a window into a fitness class for this Stig.

Oh yeah, the class! It was difficult and I did laugh when the teacher ran over to get her inhaler because I’d had to rely on mine too. It was so nice to see a real person doing a real thing like working so hard she almost had an asthma attack, as she taught. It made it feel far less like I was just watching a remote person on a screen, and like I was having a private class! In conclusion, I’m not too sure I’m cut out for a dancing career on the stage, but I really liked the freedom of Flex TV and the variety of classes it offered.

THE VERDICT: Tricky if you need others around you to stay motivated, but a fantastic option if you need to be able to fit workouts in around your day. And an absolute luxury to roll out of bed and workout in your pants. Just make sure you check who’s enjoying a Greggs slice outside your window.

THE EXTRAS: I tried Vera Flow again later during my trial (wearing more clothes – I learned my lesson!) and thought you might like to see my flumping for yourself! Please note this is after I’ve had some practice and I am STILL this bad!

(I ALSO thought you might enjoy the rather unusual muriel we have in our rented living/dining room. Hmm. She is over 6ft high and omnipresent, but you do get used to her eventually).

Note: I was kindly gifted a month’s subscription to Flex TV in return for a trial and review, but all views are my own.

BLOG: 12 Weeks to a Better Body?

It started in September

I’m not sure I like the concept of quick-fix diet and exercise programmes. I think they offer people a way to punish themselves, and I don’t think they’re a sustainable thing to keep up once they’re finished. Sure, they get results. But I’m not sure I like the journey they take someone on, nor the (psychological) destination they often lead someone to.

However, late last year, I agreed to take part in a body transformation experiment. I did it for a number of reasons. I was curious! I had a genuine willingness to learn. I guess I was (just about) willing to be proven wrong too… Although I’ll admit, I probably went in, searching for evidence to back up my beliefs. Whatever, you can be certain I went in with my eyes open!

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

Despite the fact that I think these transformations are physically achievable, I do think they’re a short term solution; and I think they should incorporate lessons in how to build a longer term love for your body, while you’re doing all the weight loss and exercise stuff.  I think this would make them more successful, for two reasons actually… 

Firstly, a foundation of self-love and self-respect is very important because I do wonder if there’s a web of body-hatred and low self-esteem that fuels a lot of participants to do these programmes. 

Secondly, only when you love and cherish your body, are you intrinsically motivated to look after it. And only then will you have a realistic chance of maintaining your fitness and health, once the programme’s over.

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

But hey, I must be growing up, because I understand not everyone thinks like me, and people are motivated to get fit in different ways. Some people want the kick up the arse these programmes offer, and perhaps these people are looking at me, wondering why I’m making so many excuses about working hard.

Time to actually try the thing I’ve got so many opinions on. Time for my transformation!

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

A question of self-esteem

My body transformation meant 12 weeks of resistance (weight) training, conditioning and tracking my calories and macros (ratios of carbs, fats and proteins). My aim was not to exceed 1450 calories a day (nope, that’s not a typo). It required dedication, and it required me to really open my mind.

My trainer knew my worries and was dedicated to helping me get over emotional hurdles in those first few weeks. I’ve realised that, in the beginning, I was turning up for training feeling reluctant and low in confidence. My attitude reflected this.

At the end of week three, I ended up crying between sets. My trainer and I had a chat, and he adjusted things to make them less intimidating. I was grateful for his willingness to adapt stuff to keep me focused on completing the experiment.

I had gone home that night feeling rubbish, and realised I had two choices: stop the experiment now, or carry on and give it 100%. I decided to go with the latter. I wanted to learn. And I just needed to believe in myself a bit more.

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

From then, I stopped defaulting to the shy kid that lives in my head (like I always do when things get difficult). I’m an adult!! I’m sick of feeling so scared all the time. So I dusted down my self-esteem and marched back to the gym for weeks 4-12. I was ready to give it a damn good go.

My changing body

Training got harder and harder – reps, sets, weights and sessions a week all increased. I really learned the importance of my core. My strength improved and my muscles seemed to get larger and more defined. This might have also been due to the fact that my layer of body fat was decreasing as I was keeping my calorie intake low. So, my muscles were becoming more noticeable with less fat to hide them!

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

My body definitely changed shape and size. I had slimmer legs, a flatter, more defined tummy, back, shoulders and arms. I felt lighter and stronger, and I felt healthy.

The experiment finished a little early, as the final week fell between Christmas and New Year, and I decided to give myself a break and not be in the gym 5 times during Christmas week… because I’m a normal human.

I also don’t have any comparative before and after stats for you either. So – my results are based purely on how I felt and what I could see in the mirror!

The verdict’s in

My verdict on the experience and the results are interesting because they aren’t clear cut. On the plus side, I certainly finished feeling positive within myself in terms of how I looked, and how strong I got.

I realised three important things throughout the experience which have helped me decide that I won’t ever doing another “quick transformation” style programme in the future. It was a fantastic experiment to learn from, but it wasn’t for me. And here’s why…

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

1.  These programmes work – but you have to work!

It’s true – my body was different at the end. So a transformation definitely took place! But I had to work my ass off for it.

And that’s the thing with the pursuit of the “perfect” body – it requires 100% dedication. That means 100% accountability for the food you’re eating and almost 100% of your spare time spent training, or recovering from training. That just doesn’t feel like the sort of normal life that most people lead. The frequency and intensity of sessions each week stressed me out, and made me horrible to live with. That wasn’t a pay off that I felt was worth a drop in dress size.

If you’re considering a transformatiom like this, then decide how much you want to change, and work out whether you’re willing to do what it takes to get you there.

If you’re willing to give what your goal requires of you, then that’s cool! But if what you need to do to achieve your goal, isn’t in sync with what you’re prepared to do, then you need a rethink. What are you willing to sacrifice? Here I’d recommend a little see-saw to help you work out what you’re prepared to sacrifice vs the results you want. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to reach a goal! But don’t set yourself up for failure either.

For me, a balanced see-saw includes thinking about what I eat in moderation, going to the gym 4 times a week if I can, enjoying cake, never using scales, and making sure I get plenty of rest. I know this will never result in a rock hard, lean, size 6 body. But I’ll be happy and I’ll have a body I feel confident and comfortable living in.

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

2. Are you mentally prepared?

I knew what I was letting myself in for (just about!) and I also knew that I was going to relax at the end of the programme, over Christmas. 

A few times over Christmas though, my body-transformation brain definitely took over and I started to panic about my potential muscle loss or fat gain. These thoughts chipped away at me a bit and, at times, flared up my anxiety.

I did regain some weight over Christmas. If I was in a different place in my head, this had the potential to upset me and dent my self-esteem. It did knock my confidence a little if I’m honest, but I got good at catching my thoughts and stopping them!

I can definitely see how a negative thinking pattern about my regular, healthy body might have spiralled into a negative place, after almost 12 weeks of training my brain to believe my body was “bad” before and “better” now. I didn’t want it to get “bad” again, did I? (This was a really weird one, because I liked my body a lot before I started!)

So, think before you sign up to track, measure and obsess over stuff like how you move and what you eat. Be honest with yourself – is this the right programme to make you feel positive and motivated to carry it on? Will your body changes affect you positively, or will you slip back into old habits? And will these old habits leave you feeling negative and depressed because you couldn’t maintain the “better you”?

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

3. It’s actually about week 13

None of this was easy, but having an excellent, dedicated trainer by my side and support from the gym made it achievable. Having a personally high motivation to exercise made the whole process easier. Doing this in the place I worked, made this easier still. So week 13 saw me positively incorporating my new-found knowledge into my active lifestyle.

BUT…. If you’ve never set foot into a gym before, and you decide to do one of these, just visualise what the week, and indeed that year after the whole programme is “over”, will mean for you. Should you be looking for something that will improve your health while also addressing what’s going on in your head?

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

Final thoughts

Girls, listen up. A body transformation should only be taken if your goal is to transform your body. Only sign up to a fat-loss programme if you want to decrease body fat.

If actually, your self-esteem or perceived body image is low, then realise that’s the main issue making you hate on your body. You should be asking yourself if a body transformation is actually going to fix the thing that needs attention.

If you just blindly assume that changing your body will make you feel better, then you might be setting yourself up for short-term “success” but longer term failure.

The future for me

These transformations will work for some, and not for others. I’ve learned a lot, I’ll use this new knowledge to train my clients when I’m qualified, and I’m incredibly grateful for the experience and perspective it’s given me.

But I think body transformations and I will part ways here. For me, it’s back to fun classes that leave me weak with laughter…. instinctive food moderation over calorie counting…. no more scales… and my beloved cardio will return!

The only real change will be a few more weights in the mix now. I like being strong!

Project HB's Body Transformation Review

REVIEW: Functional Fitness, Stress Breaker

THE BASICS: This Functional Fitness class was a 30 minute outdoor circuit style bootcamp in Queen’s Square, Bristol. For this particular “Stress Breaker” sesh, drop in was £7 and it was £60 for a block of 10 classes. Prices vary. Outdoor bootcamp and indoor training with Functional Fitness is also available at other locations around the city, including a longer, Saturday morning outdoor session up at Ashton Court. Class details HERE.

THE CLASS: We met by the distinctive van and no time was wasted in getting the small and welcoming group of us warmed up. This was a quick lunchtime blast of a class, after all!

Friendly, good natured banter was top of the agenda as we got warm and ready to work hard. I immediately felt included in the group and was able to join in with the laughter as if I’d been going every day for a year. That felt really nice!


The circuits were simple and effective, with some impressive equipment laid out considering it was a quick blast of a class. Think battle ropes, boxing gloves, pads, and best bit of equipment (in my humble opinion) was the cider keg! This was for two reasons – firstly, I’ve seen this keg-over-head challenge on World’s Strongest Man and every year I nonchalantly exclaim “I could do that” while I stuff my face with christmas food watching it on the TV. So now I finally had my chance to prove it.

And secondly, I’m still getting used to the differences between Bristol after I moved here from London… a cider keg becoming an integral piece of gym equipment certainly gave me a wry smile. So THIS is exercise in the West Country? Brilliant. I’m down with that!


Anyway, five stations of varying functional movements that we moved around. We gave it our all at each station, and Joel and Rich who ran the class have individual attention to each of us, advising on form and keeping us motivated.

20 mins in and I was dripping with sweat and gasping for air. I’m guessing this was called stress breaker because you can’t focus on any stress in your head when you’re trying to remember how to breathe.


It was over as fast as it had started with a warm down and equipment pack up, although most people seemed ok with taking their time to finish rather than rushing back to their offices!

Some of these pics were taken at the christmas special… I don’t make a habit of turning up to classes dressed like santa! The West Country isn’t THAT different.

THE VERDICT: Super friendly and immediately welcoming, I feel lucky to have found this class so close to my house! You definitely get enough of a sweat on considering it’s only 30 mins, and the size of the group means you receive a good amount of individual attention to keep you focused and on form. I shall be back!

BLOG: I Love You, January Gym Brigade!

They started in mid-December. The depressing comments about how only people who are “really” into fitness keep a fitness regime up when everyone else is partying. It was unnecessary and made my heart break. And I fear January is about to get even worse. The eye-rolls from seasoned gym-goers, about newbies “taking over” the gym are starting. And I don’t like ’em one bit.

The gym isn’t an elite club. Picking up a weight or sweating on a resistance bike doesn’t make you better than someone else. Wearing expensive kit doesn’t mean you know anything more than the person lifting next to you. This attitude is so damaging! And so, it saddens me every year to hear the negative vibes from regular gym-goers, moaning about newbies “clogging up the gym”. “Roll on February” they say, exasperated. “We’ll be rid of them by then”.

Just… NO!

Joining a gym in January is GOOD!

If you’re someone who’s thinking like this, then I’m asking you to please just stop. Did you shoot out of your mother’s womb in a lunge, brandishing a dumbbell and understanding how to use a treadmill? No, you did not.

You used to be a newbie once too, remember?! Yes, I’m sure you’ve forgotten, but there was indeed a day when you walked into a gym and it was your First Time. You needed guidance. You were probably a bit nervous. You read the instructions on machines or watched videos at home so you knew what to do when you got there.

So – no more hating on those who are doing exactly as you did a while ago.

You’re probably the same A-hole who cuts up learner drivers. Perhaps you also sneer at toddlers for not being able to read, yet? GET A GRIP! NEWBIES ARE ENTITLED TO BREATHE THAT SWEATY GYM AIR AS MUCH AS YOU!

If you’re already moaning about the January Brigade, then just think about the damage your eye-rolls or tuts or sniggers or sneers might do to someone’s low self-esteem or meekly blossoming confidence.

The gym is a space that exists to help people feel good about themselves. Allow these January newbies the chance to do something that will make them feel good about themselves, without judgement.

That person is someone who you once were. They’re someone who might be at their lowest, and finally getting the guts to do something about it. They’re someone whose wrestled with their mind for maybe months, maybe years.

They’ve mustered up all their courage to get on their kit and get to the gym. Make them feel glad they did that. Don’t try and make yourself big by making them feel small.

If you see someone who looks like their new, or nervous, or in need of help or a smile, then welcome them. Celebrate their enthusiasm. Make them feel like they want to come back and enjoy cultivating their own personal journey towards fitness.

Every person on this planet deserves the right to move their body, and if they’re trying to do so in a way that’s new to them, then we should be heaping praise and high-fives on them for having the confidence to start. The number of people starting without a trainer too – meaning they’re being driven by intrinsic motivation alone, is staggering. I can’t motivate myself to get to the gym some days. If someone’s motivating themselves to the gym for the first time ever, perhaps using January as an extra factor to actually do it, then this should be celebrated! Good on them!

Newbie in the gym january resolution to get fit

If you’re that new person, you’re bound to be feeling nervous, and probably like everyone else knows what they’re doing. My best piece of advice here is: don’t worry, they don’t. Sure, some do, but many are probably just a bit better at looking confident that you, or they’ve had a bit more practice. You deserve to be there as much as ANYONE. Probably more than many, actually, because you’re not there looking down your nose at others.

Concentrate on you and you only. If someone’s taking the time to watch and judge you, then that’s their workout (and their sad, empty heart) that’s suffering. Walk, jog, run, squat, lift and roll. Do what you want to do as you get used to moving and feeling like you, in your body. Try new equipment (read the instructions or ask an instructor for advice if you’re not sure how to use it) You’ve paid to be there. Don’t give a single damn what anyone else thinks about you being there.

If you’re new but not sure what you should be doing, then book an induction, or maybe a PT session to learn the basics and know how to workout safely, without injury. And then – well, there are so many apps and online videos and workouts that you can download and watch, you’ll never have to do the same workout twice! Don’t feel ashamed about relying on these to educate yourself, mid-workout, either. So what if you’re carrying around a bit of paper or watching videos?

I’ve been relying on online stuff every time I go to the gym, for almost 4 years now. 75% of the time I go to the gym, I still google or write out a little plan, search google images for each move and take a screenshot of them all to check my form. I’ve seen people with scraps of paper and stuff scrawled on their hand too. There’s no shame in planning and following instructions. In fact, you’re more likely to succeed at what you’re doing, if you plan it anyway!

Newbies, this January, feel nothing but insanely proud of yourself if you’re stepping into the gym for the first time! And veterans, feel proud to offer encouragement to the people you once were! Now, can we all just enjoy sweating in a shared space, please?!

REVIEW: Animal Prime

THE BASICS: Animal Prime is a class designed to help you move like you’re meant to. Whaddya mean you know how to move? I mean reeeeally move.

Like humans did when we were basically animals. Y’know, running around barefoot and using our knuckles and clubbing wooolly mammoths and stuff. Stay with me. Look, nowadays we squish our bodies in shoes and sit at desks all day and walk upright and our bodies are ruined by the time we’re 50. Kathy and Satz, the women behind Animal Prime, want to help us solve this.

The class is currently (Dec 2016) run out of PureGym Union Gate in Bristol, and it’s £3 supplement per class. It’ll soon be moving outside too, so you can run round in a local park genuinely wild habitat.

Animal Prime Class Bristol #HowNatureIntended

THE BITCHES: Carly

THE CLASS: I had a bit of an idea what to expect in this class as I’d been chatting to the founders while they were cooking up this concept. I didn’t however, expect to be standing in a circle, letting out animal cries and beating my chest by the end of hour, that’s for certain!

But trust me, by the time we got to this stage of Animal Prime, it felt absolutely normal to be standing in the middle of a busy gym on a Saturday morning, howling like a wolf.

Animal Prime Class Bristol #HowNatureIntended

Mobility was at the heart of the particular class I went to, but I know these girls will be working strength and fitness into each session as the course progresses. For this sesh though, it was back to basics, and we needed to learn how to move again – in particular this time, our hands and wrists, and feet and ankles.

We all rely on keyboards and phones, sitting hunched over them for hours a day. I know from weight training, that my grip strength is probably best described as pathetic. My hands move fine, they’re dextrous and capable, but I don’t give them a second thought. Same with my feet. What generally happens is I need to move and they just do.

I take all of their amazing movements for granted. This class made me move, stretch and challenge all of these delicate but very strong joints, muscles and bones that needed some TLC. I learned some wonderful wrist and finger stretches that I’ve found myself doing a lot in preparation for lifting heavy weights since – the stuff these gals taught was instantly useable and has improved my understanding for workouts outside of this class.

We also spent some time using our whole bodies after this dextrous work. Think rolling around on the floor and being encouraged to feel the connections between our muscles and our bodies against the floor. Teddy rolls and turtles (just think rolling around like when you were little and not giving a damn. Literally that. It was a lot of fun!)

Animal Prime Class Bristol Primal Movement class Bristol, #HowNatureIntended

These girls have phenomenal knowledge about what they teach. They help you loosen up quickly and confidently so you don’t feel too self-conscious doing things that might feel instinctively alien. And the content that they’re teaching you is applicable to everything you do with your body, whether in the gym or just moving around day to day.

And extra kudos for their playlist too. So often classes  see an instructor fumbling around with a playlist they’ve had ample opportunity to think about prior to class. It gets pretty frustrating. These gals had it nailed – Jungly, animally chanting music was on the entire time. Little things like this really make a difference to the overall experience of the class. Noted!

THE VERDICT: Having that hour to think and connect with how your body is designed to move makes a real impact on the rest of your week as you really do start to pay more attention to movements you’ve probably taken for granted for years.

The fact this class is part of a progressive series is even better, because it means you’ll be able to build on your knowledge and probably sort out a hell of a lot of the niggles you’ve got because of the way you unconsciously move  all of your component body parts at the moment.

Animal Prime Class at Pure Gym Bristol #HowNatureIntended

THE EXTRAS: Having spoken to Kathy and Satz about where they want to take Animal Prime Bristol, they’ve mentioned time and again that they are keen for the class to be accessible to people at every ability or disability. They’re fascinated by how these animal movements may aid the overall experience of movement for those living with a disability, and I know they’re keen adapt the class as needed so everyone is completely welcome. We likey!

BLOG: My Name’s Carly and I’m a Sportswear Addict…

If you’re anything like me, you’re reading this right now either wearing leggings or else you’re dreaming about the next moment you can get out of what you’re wearing and slip into something a little more… sexy.

And by that I obviously mean leggings.

If you thought I meant anything other than leggings just then, I’m gonna break it to you gently: we can’t be friends anymore.

Personally I feel my most confident and definitely my most badass in sportswear. When I got married a few months ago, there was no question that sportswear would be involved, and I decided only trainers were up to the job of carrying me down the aisle (they were sparkly, I conceded a little).

My wardrobe situation – don’t get me started! I have three cupboards. In two of those cupboards hang every piece of “normal” clothing I own. The garments in there are in what’s best described as a crumpled, well-loved state. There’s threadbare stuff in there I’ve managed to make last for… ooooh let’s see… 15 years?

If I have to dress like a normal person, it literally pains me to put a socially acceptable outfit together from the items lurking in these cupboards.

And then, my friends, there’s the third and final cupboard. My sportswear cupboard. It’s grouped by item, and sub-divided by colour. I may or may not have a drawer specifically for headbands. If the house ever gets engulfed in flames, it’s the lycra I’m grabbing by the armful, trust me.

And now, as I bounce into my amazing new place of work – a gym – the sportswear obsession has become a uniform so spending all of my time obsessing over lycra has finally become a legitimate pastime!

So yeah, I uses you could say sportswear is my thing.

Getting invited to try out pieces by different sportswear brands is like dangling cake in front of my face and asking me if I’d like to eat the whole cake when I’ve finished this slice. This exact scenario happened recently with sportswear brand TLC Sport (they dangled sportswear, not cake, just to be clear), and I had to think about it for maybe one millionth of a second before excitedly accepting to receive leggings and a sports bra from them to test during some workouts.

When they arrived in the post, they initially looked pretty small! I was a bit worried. At first glance, it looked like I was going to struggle to get one knee in, let alone my very maximum gluteus-maximus.

I needn’t have fretted. The medium sized leggings and small top fitted on my size-12-with-a-generous-bottom frame snugly (not tightly) and instantly made me look like the most curvaceous creature to sass her way onto the gym floor.

This particular pair have a mesh layer inside the legging band, and they’re double thickness around the bum, thighs and legs, making them hold you in like a pair of breathable, silky spanx.

I chose a pair with hot pink panels down the side which I also think helped to make my legs look longer and slimmer. They were finished off with a dinky little mesh window at mid-thigh height, to add a little pop of luxe to the overall design. Super luxe, super comfy, and my booty looked great, even if I do say so myself!

I wore them for the next four days after receiving them, (like, I literally considered sleeping in them) and at one point, Bae caught me absent-mindedly stroking my own leg as I watched Bake Off.

There I was, watching tv, unconsciously touching myself up. This leads me to the only feasible conclusion: these TLC leggings made me fancy myself.

And onto the bra – I chose a bright blue with a high-ish neck at the front, which can cleverly be work back to front too. My favourite parts of this mesh panel that covers the top part of my cleavage, and the mesh lining inside which meant the bra gave me a super smooth silhouette but still held me in tight enough for the treadmill.

I originally planned to try the outfit at a few classes and report back on its functionality.

What actually happened was I put it on and wore it to work, did a weight training work out in it where I didn’t sweat too much, so decided it was socially acceptable to wear it to work the next day…and then managed to wear it for a third day over the weekend before finally doing a big sweaty cardio workout in it.

Yes. Three days straight. I was practically sleeping in the stuff!

I think it’s safe to say TLC Sport gets a thumbs up (and sexual stroke of my own silken leg) from me! Thanks for the chance to try your brand out, TLC Sport :)