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Thanks for Telling Me I’m Obese- a Not So Fun Return to the Gym

There are many reasons behind why we started Sudor — as an entrepreneur you have to really believe in what you’re doing or you’ll give up(!) — and I was reminded very clearly of one yesterday, in my first visit back to a gym.

One of the things I’ve missed most in lockdown has been the gym floor— so to say I was excited was an understatement. My friend and I were considering signing up, so we booked a trial and showed up for the mandatory sales pitch.
Once we were done haggling we were shown on a tour of the gym. The sales guy “Spencer” took us past the body fat measurement machine, taking good care to point it out and explain how to use it. He also said we can give it a go there and then… which of course we did!
Now, my friend and I have very different goals. He wants to bulk up after only doing cardio the past few months, and I want to lose the tummy weight I put on after a bad ankle injury. He didn’t really need a machine to tell him his body fat was low, and I didn’t really need one to say mine was a bit high. In fact, I was fully prepared for that.

However, what I wasn’t prepared for was someone to nail down the numbers quite so aggressively (with absolutely no attempt to understand the context). Most of our ‘scores’ were in the normal range — his mainly at the lower end, mine mainly at the higher end, but we were both made to feel like total failures.
For example, my body water was 34.4 which is towards the higher end of my “normal range” 28.8–35.3. After peering over the machine, Spencer simply told me to “reduce my water retention” — with no guidance on how to do so or questions as to understand the cause. As a side note, with a 5 min Google, I confirmed two possible reasons; 1. the time in my cycle and 2. I am a week into a keto diet; both of which can cause water retention.
Spencer then moved on to my mineral report — my score 3.5, vs a normal range of 2.9–3.5. Again, I was told this was very high. When we mentioned that it was in the range, suddenly Spencer decided it was actually fine, good in fact.
Next up — body composition. My left leg has more fat and less muscle than my right leg. Spencer helpfully advised that this was probably because I was right-handed. I offered an alternative explanation — that I’d been out for a few months with torn ligaments in my left foot (he wasn’t listening). This time he did offer a solution — use the leg press to reduce the imbalance.
The final crunch for me was being told I was “Pre-Obese”.

Until my friend started asking for details on all the levels, I was made to feel like quite the heffalump (turns out there are 4 obesity levels above this). My (now dear) friend Spencer kindly advised me to take HIIT classes to deal with this problem and burn some of the fat.
To say I was taken aback, somewhat depressed and demotivated by this experience would be an understatement… and my body confidence is fairly high. I found myself wondering how someone with already low body confidence would feel.
So how does this tie into Sudor — the platform that we’ve spent the last 18 months and a lot of blood, sweat and tears building?
We strongly believe that the only person that can be responsible for your fitness journey is you. This means showing up, managing your workout schedule and investing the time to build your own knowledge and experience around fitness and what works for you.
We built Sudor to encourage the world to move more. Just moving a little bit every day can have a significant impact on wellness and mental health. You’ll never find progress bars or comparisons on Sudor — we are focused on connecting you with trainers, workouts and classes that you will enjoy — because if you enjoy something you’ll come back again and again. And if you move more consistently, you’ll feel a million times better — and if you ask me, that feeling is worth more than a million machines telling you you’re normal.

One of the many gym selfies I took to see if I really was as obese as the machine was telling me:

 

Sanity Saver: Lockdown Edition

Sanity Saver: Lockdown Edition

Some train to stay sane, while others train to stay alive – being able to move your body and test your limits is one of the biggest privileges that we have! Fitness and wellness go hand-in-hand, and shouldn’t be divided into two separate states of being, after all – fitness is not a destination but a way of life! And with lockdown in the UK underway, we think that it’s a good time to set our sights on new goals. 

By introducing exercise to your daily schedule, not only are you actively improving your physical health but your mental health too. To us, having regular exercise in your everyday schedule really is a win-win! We’ve all had our down days during these unpredictable times. But what can we do to feel better, physically and mentally? Making small, meaningful changes – at a pace, you can manage – is a great way to improve your life, one day at a time.

The facts: how exercise improves your mood

We all know that our mood lifts along with those dumbbells – and science agrees. As you exercise, your brain’s serotonin levels increase. Serotonin is responsible for regulating your mood, appetite and sleep – which all impact the way you feel. Your brain also releases endorphins, which are our very own natural mood boosters!

And since many of us are met with the all-too-familiar challenge of working from home, it’s also great to know that regular exercise significantly improves concentration and our ability to process new information. All the more reason to get moving!

How to beat the lockdown blues:

Kick-off your day with a workout 🏃

You know what they say – conquer the morning, conquer the day! Not only will you be able to cross exercise off the list, but you’ll fire up your mind (and metabolism!) for a productive day. By starting your day on that post-workout endorphin rush, you’re bound to set the tone for the rest of your day.

Get those z’s in 😴

If you find it difficult to fall asleep, trackback to step 1: moving more. Your body needs to recover and good quality sleep is often underestimated. Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep every night, however, 30% of adults get less than 6 hours. Inadequate sleep can lead to increased appetite and sugar cravings and may decrease your metabolism. So try to go to bed at the same time each night so your body can get into a healthy rhythm and allow your body to maintain a healthy body weight!

Enjoy some fresh air🌤️

Even if it’s just to enjoy the breeze coming through the window, studies have proven that even a glimpse of nature can do wonders for your mood and mental space. Schedule a walk outside into your day, you are more likely to stick to it and it will do you the world of good!

Do something that ‘fills your cup’ every day 📖🎮🎨

15 minutes of a good book, a bit of gaming, painting or an inspiring podcast – whatever lights you up! Self care comes in many different shapes and forms, whether it’s taking time to sit and read a good book or pounding the pavement for a 10km run – we are all so different and that is what makes our Sudor Community so unique and special! 

Tasty Mood Boosters

Did you know the food you eat can affect your mental well-being as well as your physical health? Although our moods are bound to lift with our dumbbells, what we eat plays a key role in how we feel! Beyond this, key additions such as omega-3 rich fats, fibre-rich whole grains, fermented foods, proteins and dark green vegetables are super important when it comes to ensuring mood balance and well-being. Add these tasty, mood-boosting foods to your menu for a natural pick-me-up.

Oily Fish

Foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids help keep the brain cells flexible, ensuring that the brain’s messaging chemicals can work effectively – this contributes to a happier, more balanced mood. Salmon, mackerel and sardines are all great choices.

Sudor’s Secret Anxiety Busters

Sudor’s Secret Anxiety Busters

While there are many things that can make us anxious, there are at least DOUBLE the number of things out there that can help beat that anxious knot in your stomach. From food, to exercise, to meditation – the world is your oyster when it comes to beating the anxiety blues. The good news is that anxieties pass and there are concrete ways to protect yourself from sweaty palms and palpitations. This is our simple guide to slowing down your racing mind.

Update your diet

Science tells us that people who centred their diet around vegetables, fish, fruit and whole grains were significantly less likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder. The suggested science is that the way in which your gut ferments the extra fibre in a healthy diet creates short chain fatty acids that reduce your stress response.

Equally, it’s smart to put a cork in the daily glass of chardonnay. While that first sip may hit different, as the alcohol wears off, our happy hormone levels fall and anxiety levels are exacerbated. Hangxiety is real, people!

Tweak your training

We all know that our mood lifts along with those dumbbells – and science agrees. As you exercise, your brain’s serotonin levels increase. Serotonin is responsible for regulating your mood, appetite and sleep – which all impact the way you feel. Your brain also releases endorphins, which are our very own natural mood boosters!

Taking a rest day? It’s still worth including some mobility and abs work. Low-impact stretching has found to reduce cortisol levels. Try 10 minutes of cat cows, thoracic rotations and hip circles.

Try meditation

If repeating mantras just isn’t going it for you, focused breathing can help you find a mindful moment and escape anxiety in general. And the benefits are instantaneous! It calms anxiety by reducing cortisol in your blood and stimulates the release of nitric oxide. This helps open up constricted blood vessels, protecting your heart from the effects of stress. When we meditate, we open ourselves up to far-reaching and long-lasting benefits: We lower our stress levels, we get to know our pain, we connect better to our bodies, we improve our focus, and we understand ourselves better. Let us walk you through a basic meditation.

Get outside

Even if it’s just to enjoy the breeze coming through the window, studies have proven that even a glimpse of nature can do wonders for your mood and mental space. Schedule a walk outside into your day, you are more likely to stick to it and it will do you the world of good! You should make the most of your outdoor walk with one person from outside of your household. 

Prioritise sleep

If you find it difficult to fall asleep, trackback to step 1: moving more. Your body needs to recover and good quality sleep is often underestimated. Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep every night, however, 30% of adults get less than 6 hours. Inadequate sleep can lead to increased appetite and sugar cravings and may decrease your metabolism. Good sleep hygiene is a must, too. That means trying to stick to a bedtime routine and creating a peaceful, restful environment to sleep in.

Do all these things, get a good 6-8 hours, and dealing with the stresses of the following day won’t feel like such a nightmare.