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There is nothing more satisfying than stepping into a nice, long, soapy shower after a gym session, are we right?

We definitely think so anyway, which is why we were a bit baffled when we heard the results of a recent post-workout survey. 

Showerstoyou.co.uk, asked 1,000 gym-goers about the shower routine they undertake after their cardio session, and the results are fairly shocking.

 

A whopping 73 per cent of participants said that they don’t shower straight after exercise.

We get it, sometimes you're so wrecked after a workout that all we want to do is collapse in a heap, but 43 per cent admitted that they don’t even take their socks off for hours after a workout.

Another 18 per cent just don’t wash after a workout at all.

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A further one third of those asked said that they will use their gym gear three or four times before throwing it in the wash.

We would say that the hardest part of the gym is actually going, so tossing your clothes into the wash and yourself into the shower should be an easy step. 

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Vogue Williams has shared the most encouraging message to women who are trying to be more active this year.

Many of us have vowed to join the gym, cut down on junk food and eat more greens this year, but it isn’t always easy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Vogue, who is a fitness fanatic, admitted that even she can struggle with staying focused on working out and eating well.

She posted a bikini photo to Instagram alongside the most honest message: “It’s January so I know lots of people will be starting at the gym. Firstly the fact you’ve even started is unreal, don’t feel intimidated in there.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She told her followers to go to classes, get the odd PT and you’ll be flying in no time.

The DJ explained that she adores going to the gym, especially because of the impact it has on both her physical and mental health.

“It’s great for my body but even better for my mind. Women are hard on themselves, I’m hard on myself too but I’m happy with my body now,” she wrote.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Vogue may have a figure to die for, but the mum said being slim isn’t the be all and end all.

“It made a baby, that’s what impresses me most,” the mum gushed.

“I get asked a lot about what I do to stay in shape. I’m consistent in the gym and I eat healthy ISH. I never say no to things I want but eat them in moderation,” Vogue revealed.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She begged her followers not to fall for ‘ridiculous flat tummy shakes or diet suppressants’ that are constantly promoted by celebrities and influencers around this time of the year.

“If you want to tone up and lose weight, move more and eat healthily. It’s a slower process than a full-on diet but the results show and last longer,” she added.

We love how honest Vogue is.

Our Instagram feeds have been flooded with posts about shedding the Christmas weight and the Kardashian clan are forever promoting diet shakes so there’s no doubt Vogue’s honest and positive post has made us and a lot of other women feel far better.

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The Christmas season is almost upon us, so it's time to organise those all important pressies.

Take full advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and get the gym bunny in your life the perfect festive gift without breaking the bank. 

As a self-confessed fitness junkie, these are just some of the finds that I absolutely adore from a price and practical point.

Active Marled Top €15

Nike Long Sleeve Futura Bodysuit €32

Pile hooded jacket €39.99

Nike Running Miler Long Sleeve Top €32

Active Colorblock Fleece Sweatshirt €17

Short yoga top €19.99

Adidas Originals 3-Stripes Long Sleeve Bodysuit €42 

Nike Training Pro Muscle Tank Top €20

Active Striped-Trim Hoodie €19 

Sports bra High support €22.99

Low Impact – Sports Bra €17

High Impact – Striped Sports Bra €17

Nike Training Indy Logo Sports Bra €25

Under Armour Tape Strappy Bra €30

Sports bra Medium support €12.99

Nike Brasilia Medium Duffle Bag €35

Running backpack €34.99

Glass water bottle €14.99

Large Smartshaker Shaker €8.99

Vegan Protein Blend €21.99

The Reversible (Un) Mat 1.5mm 66CM X 180CM €55

Flex Leggings €29.40

Active Striped-Trim Leggings €24 

Active Marled Ankle Biter Leggings €19

Fit Leggings €24

Seamless sports tights €22.99

Nike Downshifter 8 Women's €60

Nike Womens Flex Essential TR €55

Nike Womens Flex Trainer €70

Nike City Trainer 2 Women's €60

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The United Kingdom is currently facing a mental health crisis, one of which the country has never seen before. Two committees of MPs recently warned that the current support available on the NHS is inadequate and runs the risk of failing a generation who desperately need help.

The average Brit works 43.6 hours a week, with more than four million workers spending more than 48 hours a week in the workplace. British workers also face an average commute to work of 54 minutes, almost 20 minutes more than the EU average.

This means that Brits are struggling to find a work life balance, which some experts believe is fuelling the mental health crisis in the UK and increasing levels of obesity as workers have less time to live a healthy lifestyle.

Did you know? In France there is a law allowing workers the ‘right to disconnect. Employees in an organisation of more than 50 people are forbidden from sending or receiving work emails outside of their standard working hours.

Why is a work-life balance important?

If you are one of the workers that is dedicating nearly 60 hours a week to work, you are at serious risk of burn out. Living in a bubble of all work no play can lead to a disconnect with the world around you and cause you to ignore your mental and physical health.

Although there are no direct figures for work-related suicides in the UK, suicide rates have risen markedly among young people in recent years. Reports suggest that certain occupational groups such as doctors, nurses and farmers are deemed to be at high risk of work related suicide – due to job pressure and the isolated nature of their work.

That might be hardly surprising when you consider that in these professions 60+ hour weeks are the norm. So finding ways to unwind and relax in your spare time are vital to your physical and mental wellbeing.

But what are the best ways to relax outside of work?

1. Go to the gym

Finding the time to go to the gym is often difficult for those in busy occupations, but it can be done. The vast majority of gyms offer guided classes in the evenings and at weekends to appeal to those with a busy lifestyle.

The benefits of going to the gym are tremendous. Firstly, your physical health will improve dramatically as a result of increased physical exertion. Secondly, attending classes or regularly visiting the same gym can broaden your social circles, opening your horizons to future social activities.

Most importantly, exercise has been proven by scientists to improve mental wellbeing. The NHS recommends regular exercise as a way of combatting mild depression and warding of the sceptre of anxiety.

2. Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mind-body based approach that helps people to process their thoughts rationally and reconnect with the world around them.

If this sounds like a new-age, hippy technique then simply think of it as unwinding. It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of becoming too involved with the day-to-day processes of going to work, eating, sleeping and avoiding your emotions. Mindfulness can take as little as 10 minutes a day and allows you to unwind, evaluate your emotional state and relax.

Did you know? Mindfulness has been proven to decrease depression by 63%, anxiety by 58% and perceived stress by 40%.

3. Play poker

Playing games with people – such as poker – requires social interaction on some level, and it’s a popular way to meet people and socialise with existing friends.

What makes poker so popular is the relative ease you can play the game. The strategy involved in poker can improve your mental agility and provide a distraction to take your mind firmly away from work.

But if you don’t fancy going to a casino, or you don’t live near one, don’t worry. Gamblers are increasingly going online to play their favourite games. Playing online is so much more convenient than having to find your local land-based casino – as you can play from the comfort of your own home, or if you’re on the move.

What’s more, online casino technology has evolved so much that the games feel as immersive and engaging as they would do in a real casino experience. One option out there for online gamblers is video poker. With its cool retro style and simple gameplay, video poker is an entertaining way to unwind – and it gives you a great opportunity to get your game up before playing against other competitors for real.

Check out this video poker game and you’ll put yourself in the frame for all these benefits, plus one more: winning a huge jackpot.

4. Ditch the phone

Mobile phones have revolutionised the world and given people almost everything they’ve ever wanted at the tips of their fingers. Yet overuse of mobile phones and tablets has been proven to negatively impact on people’s mental wellbeing and social lives.

Putting your phone down for an hour a day and interacting with those around you can have huge benefits to your life. You will develop more meaningful relationships with the people around you and avoid the social isolation that social media can cause.

Added to this, time spent away from social media can be beneficial to your mental outlook. Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook can be chastening as you are constantly confronted with images of people’s successes.

It’s easy to forget that you are only seeing a glimpse of someone’s life, the best bits, and unfairly judge yourself against other people. Take time away from social media and viewing other peoples amazing lives, and instead make memories of your own.

Did you know? Teens in the US using their phones for more than five hours a day were 70% more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those using their phones for one hour a day.

5. Join a social group

Regardless of who you are, you will have your own interests and hobbies, and it’s important to continue those hobbies, preferably with other people. If reading is your number one relaxation technique, then you can join a weekly book club and use your passion to expand your social circle.

Likewise, if you’re a sports fan there are a plethora of amateur sports clubs that you can join to expand your social circles, as well as improving your physical well-being.

Summary

A work life balance is important to your mental and physical well-being, and it’s too easy to neglect that fact in modern life. Taking steps to improve your mental wellbeing, physical health and social life are all important factors in having a healthy life.

Take the time to look at your life objectively. Imagine you were talking to a friend and giving them some advice, what would you say to them? Slow down, take a break, do more of the things you enjoy? Whatever it is you would say, apply that advice to yourself.

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With the SHEmazing Awards on the horizon, we've been trawling Instagram in search of our favourite members of the Irish fit fam.

We have a #Fitfam Award up for grabs as part of our amazing SHEmazing Awards, and we want to know who you think deserves the crown.

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You can vote for your favourite gym instructor on Instagram fitness guru here, and have a look at our grand total of 16 categories to see what other nominations you have to offer.

We're feeling uber-inspired after our little Instagram jaunt, and nabbing some new gym gear is on our minds. 

The first port of call? A stylish gym bag to haul all our swag, of course: 

 Left to right: ALOHA gym bag with tropical print €69.56

Gym and Tonic bag €17.87

Penneys Mini Backpack €10.00

RI Black Camo Tote Bag €45.00

 Left to right: Topshop Foldaway Tote Bag €13.00 

Hype Transparent Pink Backpack €34.00 

Nike Gym Club Bag €28.00

Topshop LEO Leather Duffle Luggage Bag €55.00

Left to right: ASOS Quilted Holdall €37.33

Ban.Do After This We're Getting Pizza Gym Bag €42.67

JD Williams Gym & Tonic Bag €25.00

Jack Will Gym Bag €49.95

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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Trying to get fit is hard enough without the added stress of a packed gym floor.

How are we expected to get a full-body workout when almost every machine is occupied by 'macho' young men who spend the entire time scrolling through their Instagram feeds – or even worse, trying to talk to us.

Sorry guys, but there's a very high chance that our sweaty, red-faced, tired selves are not in the mood to strike up a conversation at this moment in time.

Well, one women has come up with a very creative way to ward off any unwanted attention – and honestly, we can't believe we didn't think of it sooner.

Taking to Twitter, American author Olivia Cole, shared a situation she witnessed at the gym in which two women were approached by a flirtatious young man.

Now for the good part.

In order to the deter the man from coming any closer, one of the women announced that just had just farted, insisting that it was in his interest to refine from coming any closer.

The tweet has since been retweeted over 22,000 times, and has received over 130,000 likes so far.

Needless to say, the internet is absolutely loving this stroke of genius, with many Twitter users taking to the site to commend the young woman for her creative tactic.

So, will you be trying out this method in future? 

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A gym in southern Turkey has gifted a Syrian child refugee with a lifetime membership after a touching photo went viral.

12-year-old Mohammed Khaled, who works as a shoeshiner in Adiyaman province, melted hearts across the country when he was pictured staring longingly into the window with a footstool strapped to his back.

The heartbreaking photo quickly spread across social media, grabbing the attention of gym owner Engin Dogan.

Clearly moved by the image, Engin offered Mohammed an all-access lifetime pass to the facility.

Speaking to Hurriyet News, he said: “A boy, looking through the gym window, wearing slippers in the middle of winter and carrying his backpack.

“Our aim was to find him and offer him a lifetime membership here. And, we did it.

“He is one of our members now.”

Mohammed, told the Turkish news agency, Anadolu, that the oppourtunity was a dream come true.

“He found me and helped me,“ the 12-year-old said.

Mustafa Kucukkaya, one of the gym's managers, told Turkish newspaper Sabah: “It affected me very much because we came from nothing and we did not have such a gym in our time.

"The Turkish people are very sensitive about this issue, I am very touched, I think we are doing something very good."

The good deed has earned the respect of Instagram users around the globe, with many taking to the comments to commend the gym owners for their generosity.

“Amazing deed,” one user wrote. “Great work, inspirational stuff,” said another.

Mohammed, who has always “dreamed of losing weight,” hopes to use the opportunity to kick-start his fitness journey.

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Look, we'd try any excuse to get out of going to the gym. And we've used nearly every trick in the book – tiredness, work, our dog's birthday.

But, this may actually be a legitimate reason to skip the workout.

A new study from Fitrated.com has found that most gym equipment has more germs on it than a toilet seat.

Grossed out? We are too.

The study saw a science lab, EmLab P&K, swab about 30 pieces of gym equipment in three top UK gym chains, and the results were pretty grim.

They found that a treadmill has 74 times more bacteria on it than a public drinking water fountain, while an exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than a cafeteria tray.

But the mankiest of all? Free weights have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Now, that's a lot of germs. But, are we really surprised?

bright, close-up, color

While you may see a lot of people rub down a treadmill when they're finished; how many people do you see cleaning the weights?

So, if you have to go to the gym and this study hasn't given you the creeps, then the best thing for you to do is bring some anti-bacterial wipes to give whatever piece of equipment you're using a quick clean.

Don't touch your face while at the gym either, and take off your exercise clothes the minute you get home. You don't want those germs spreading.

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Ever pass by a creche and see toddlers having nap time? Ever wish you could be one of those?

Well, now you kinda can.

A UK-based gym is offering a class where, instead of breaking a sweat, you catch up on your sleep.

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The hour-long class, which is called 'Nap-ercise', starts with stretching for 15 minutes, and then a 45 minute slot for catching up on your ZZZs.

According to Hello Giggles, the gym wrote on its website: “The frantic nature of modern life means that few of us seem to get enough sleep, and if you’re a parent, a good night’s rest becomes even more of a luxury.

"So we’re created a new group class — group napping classes for exhausted mums and dads to help boost their mental and physical wellbeing.”

We NEED this.

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You know those evenings where all you want to do is jump into your PJs, throw on the TV series you're bingeing on and just order in pizza?

Simply put, the urge to interact with your fave TV characters trumps the urge to talk to your personal trainer at the gym.

Yep, it happens to a lot of us – but it turns out that doing this doesn't make us lazy; it just means were smart.

Well, kinda.

The Journal of Health Psychology found some interesting correlations between people who use their brains a lot, and their exercise habits.

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Those who use their brains a lot in work, or love a good cognitive activity, are more likely to spend their off-time lounging around the house than going on a 5km run.

The study measured the candidate's "tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive endeavours," and found that we don't want to exercise because our brains sometimes need a bit of time off.

So long story short; if you just want to stay in bed all day, you're not actually being 'lazy', you're just resting your body so your brain can work harder.

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Now, obviously you can't take the p*ss with this new description of 'lazy', so here are a few ways how to motivate yourself to exercise: 

1. Be competitive

Even if being competitive isn't your thang, it's a great motivator for exercise.

Whether you compete against your BFF, your brother or some unknown person at the gym; trying to keep up with another person will set you on the right track.

Kettle Bell Beside Adidas Pair of Shoes

 

2. Plan it out

Yes, we know the struggle is real when you get home from work and just want to flop onto the sofa.

But work out a tactical plan – this could be going to a gym right beside your office straight after work or doing a lunchtime workout session.

Woman in White Jacket Holding Silver Iphone

 

3. Make it social

If you hate just being on your own and having to contend with yourself while running on a treadmill for 40 minutes, then try find a group to exercise with.

The social interaction will make your workout go by much faster and having a common goal with your group will help you keep on top of your regime.

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Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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We love nothing more than a comfy pair of leggings, and Canadian cult brand Lululemon has a reputation for combining comfort and style in their range of work out gear. 

From leotards and sports bras to running shorts and bomber jackets, the athleisure brand covers it all.

The brand has previously only been available online, but now the yogis of Ireland can rejoice in the knowledge that the brand is en route to our Emerald Isle.

 

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"Athletic brand Lululemon are coming soon to Brown Thomas," reads a new section on BT's website.

"A Vancouver based brand, they are the leaders in healthy living with an amazing range of athletic wear including running, gym and yoga."

"Discover Lululemon in a new, relaxing and inviting space in our Dublin store this April."

 

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The high-quality work out gear will be available from Brown Thomas' Dublin branch, and will include clothing and accessories.

We can't wait to elevate our gym gear game to the next level. 

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Hands up if you are a bright red, sweaty betty when you work out in the gym! (guilty).

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The good news is, exercising no longer means sweating off your makeup, or simply opting for a clear face.

Sweat Cosmetics is a brand of makeup that is specifically designed for exercising, be it in the gym or outdoors. 

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This brand has been developed and tested by Olympic and pro athletes, and will change your gym-game in a major way.

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Sweat includes mineral foundations, bronzers, and illuminators that are all water and sweat proof with a high SPF.

The products are all available online, and prices start at just €7. 

What's not to love?

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