By Megan Smiley, Oct 26 2018 10:19AM

British Summer Time officially ends this weekend and although that means you gain an extra hour in bed it also means shorter days, as well as cold and wet weather (especially in Glasgow), are well and truly here. So the heating is now on timed rather than a quick blast when it feels a little chilly, you’ve dug out that oversized cosy jumper/cardi that has seen better days but still does the job of keeping you feel warm and safe on the sofa, you’ve switched your meals from salads to soups and grilled fish and meats to warming one pot wonders. In other words you’ve gone into hibernation mode!

There are some other changes that often occur in this autumn hibernation transition, one being people become less active. Now I understand it is harder to get out of bed when it’s still dark, and it’s less appealing to go and run around, cycle, walk or whatever when it’s dark and cold. And there isn’t that summer motivation of wanting to look good in skimpier clothes/swimwear.

But that mindset just reflects the short-term view people take on health and fitness. As I always say, there aren’t any quick fixes or magic answers. Being fit and healthy is a long term commitment, a way of life that should be intertwined in your existence. It shouldn’t be because of a holiday, birthday or wedding, those things can be a great catalyst to start you off but you should want to find a routine that you can continue forever. Obviously there will be times when you need to adapt your routine and then times things will get dropped a little, but generally it’s about finding healthy habits that become second nature AND you enjoy (on some level)!

If you let those healthy habits and exercise routines you’ve built, drop off over autumn and winter it means, if you do start them up again, say in next spring, it’s going to be hard and take a while to get back into your routine and reach the levels you were at when you stopped.

So it’s about slightly adapting, working out how you can continue your healthy habits without having to go running in the rain if that’s something you don’t like. It’s amazing how much you can do inside, so even if you only have a small space in your home, you could still do a morning workout there. Also, think outside the box for spaces you could use (I used to train a client in the underground car park in the depth of winter), and things you could do. There are the obvious options of gyms and classes but maybe there’s some indoor activity you’ve always fancied but haven’t had the time to try, it could be indoor climbing, swimming or dance lessons.

Finally, as I touched on above, there is a tendency to move to a more wintry diet but it isn’t a bad thing. There are plenty of hearty and wholesome winter foods that are healthy. If you don’t fancy a cold salad, you could cook it instead – I love oven roasted little gem lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Warming food doesn’t have to be all about pies and puddings!

So what I’m saying is don’t just throw the towel in on your healthy habits as the days draw in. Keep being active and eating healthily but adapt it as necessary. Or if you’re wanting to get fit and healthy don’t think, there’s no point starting now, I’ll wait till spring. So carry on, or start now, and get your body fit, healthy and strong not just for summer but for life!

By Megan Smiley, Aug 3 2018 02:02PM

It honestly isn’t an exaggeration to say that being in London for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics was one of the best times of my life. I loved watching all the different sports and was lucky enough to see athletics, hockey, basketball, football, handball, and a dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony. But it was the atmosphere and the buzz, not just at the events or in the Olympic Park, but right across London that I loved the most. When I think back to that time I remember people smiling a lot, people being more positive, understanding, welcoming and happy… I mean there were even strangers talking to each other on the tube! It really was a great time.

Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2014 very successfully and apparently there was a similar feel around the city, maybe not to the same degree as London 2012 but an undeniable positivity that sport has the power to install in people and a place. Now Glasgow is the joint host, alongside Berlin, of the 2018 European Championships where over 3000 athletes from 52 European nations are competing in six sports over 11 days.

So I’m very happy I’m living in Glasgow to experience this sporting event. Over the next week and a bit I’ll get to see gymnastics, road cycling and mountain biking, as well as going to a number of the cultural festivities the city is putting on for the Championships.

It’s already been quite a summer of sporting excitement what with the World Cup in Russia. However, I have to say I think I slightly missed out on the excitement and buzz that was experienced south of the Scottish border! So England have had their sporting moment for the summer, and it’s now time for Scotland to enjoy their sporting moment by hosting what I hope will be a great 11 days of competition and celebrations.

By Megan Smiley, Jul 19 2017 02:40PM

Being active and summer tend to go hand in hand in my mind. From childhood memories of the six week summer holidays filled with summer sport clubs, activity holidays, learning to windsurf, failing to master (or even understand) tennis, the list goes on. To the past month or so with the fab weather we’ve had, spending many an hour in various parks across London soaking up the sunshine, and although I’m not the one actually being that active, rather telling people to be active, but I’ll take the ‘being active’ by proxy!

Plus I AM getting more and more active since that pesky foot and two operations put me off track last summer. I have started running, not far, to be precise one minute running, one minute resting, eight times, twice a week but as I always say a little is much better than nothing. I’m able to jump (nothing crazy yet) rather than hop now - I have confused a number of my clients by trying to demonstrate exercises on one leg over the past six months. And my old trusty friend that is swimming which has been there helping me through the enforced time of reduced activity. The hot weather broadening my horizons from the council run local pool to lidos and a canal (I’m not sure I should admit to that one as I don’t think canals are meant for swimming, I blame the Pimms!)

Then there are the summer sporting events to inspire and excite your activity taste buds. From Wimbledon to the Tour de France, the Women’s Euros, the Open and many more.

Even those who aren’t into being active can’t help it on a sunny summer’s day, donning a pair of shorts and throwing around a frisbee in a park. The summer really does get people out and moving about, and I for one love it!

By Megan Smiley, Jul 30 2015 08:48AM

I've always loved a bit of sportswear from the days of shell suits and over sized Kappa t-shirts to C&A's brightly coloured ski range. So it's lucky that I ended up in a job where I get to wear sports clothes every single day as my 'uniform'. In fact, I sometimes feel a little strange when I pop on a pair of jeans and a top that doesn't have a racer back!

However, the lack of decent, affordable women's sportswear has been an issue over the years. As with many things in sport, it is dominated by a focus on men, and it has felt like women's clothing has often been an afterthought. But there's been a shift. Stylish and functional sportswear for women has started to pop up all over, rather than being a pleasant surprise when you found something decent, now you have a choice.

This has been down to a number of reasons: the big established sports brands expanding their women's range, and collaborating with designers and significant style icons - the most famous being Stella McCartney for adidas. Also, high-street shops like H&M branching out to sportswear. And not to overlook the growing number of female specific sports brands such as Sweaty Betty and Lorna Jane.

All of the above and more, means you can choose your clothing for what exercise you're doing (be it tennis, yoga, gym sessions, running, cycling etc), colours, fit, style, or what brand you want to be seen in. I'm obviously a purist when it comes to sportswear as I still love the originals like adidas, nike and puma. There is a downside to this, for me anyway, and that is that as there are so many great pieces around now, that I could end up spending a small fortune on sportswear (I obviously need it all, it's my job!). I am in double figures, at least, for the number of sports leggings I have!

But I would much rather have the choice of good looking, good fitting and good performing sportswear and have to show a little self-restraint at times, than how it used to be!

By Megan Smiley, Jul 11 2014 09:25AM

Living in London you can become a little nonchalant about all the amazing opportunities on offer, I know I have. When I moved to London over six years ago I had a list as long as my arm of things I was going to do. I have slowly ticked off quite a few of them but there are still plenty of things on there too. However, when I visited Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that opened to the public in April this year, I saw people trying out the track in the Velodrome and upon realising that they were on a 'track taster session' that anyone can do for a very reasonable £30, this jumped to the top of my 'things to do in London' list.

The hour long session was as good as I had hoped. The mix of anticipation and nerves about cycling a fixed wheel bike with my feet strapped in so tightly that I wouldn't be about to put a foot down in a panicky moment on a wooden track with banks that seem a lot higher up close, disappeared as soon as I started cycling. The instructor was great and the group of about 15, a mix of ages and abilities, were all made to feel comfortable and encouraged to the right level to get the most out of the session.

I loved every bit of it, especially towards the end of the session when I was up by the fence at the top on the bank looking down at the beautifully crafted wooden track thinking about the stars who have cycled on it, albeit a little faster than I was going, but the same track nevertheless!

My only criticism is the fact that Better, the organisation who run the leisure facilities at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and other sports facilities across London, aren’t shouting about this and the other opportunities available at the park: day passes for the Aquatic Centre or the gym in the Cooper Box both only £10, as well as the new Hockey and Tennis Centre that boasts indoor and outdoor courts and pitches.

Sport can be expensive and therefore elitist, however, here is a great example of where it isn't. It's accessible and pretty reasonably priced, this opens doors for 'normal' people to try out world class facilities without having to be one of the best swimmers in the country or know the boss of British Cycling!

There has been much talk of the legacy of London 2012 and a lot of negativity towards the lack of momentum post the Games. With unanswered questions such as: are more girls being encouraged to play sport, and are underprivileged children receiving opportunities to develop their sporting skills still prevalent, then we should really be promoting facilities like the ones at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and getting people excited about sport like they were two summers' ago. Something along the lines of 'if you've got it flaunt it' springs to mind!