MAXINE ALI

Meet Maxine; self-confessed Lorna Jane addict and queen of ‘Zoats’.

With a quest to help others become their ‘happiest, healthiest self’, Maxine has grown a huge following on social media through sharing her sensible approach to fitness and daily #foodporn.

Having battled with various health issues for most of her life, Maxine’s drive to take control of her health truly inspiring. We caught up with the lady herself and hit her with some questions.


"NOTHING MAKES ME FEEL MORE FIERCE, POWERFUL AND CONFIDENT THAN LIFTING HEAVY."


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE OF TRAINING AND WHY?

My regime focuses on strength training with the occasional HIIT or cardio thrown in when I’m in the mood to get REALLY sweaty. The most important thing for me is that I’m always training in a way that I love and nothing makes me feel more fierce, powerful and confident than lifting heavy and witnessing my strength grow and improve week on week. It’s also fantastic to connect with your body on a whole new level as you become more conscious of form and movement when executing every rep.

WHAT’S YOUR YANG?
Go-to healthy habit

I nearly always start my day with a bowl of zoats (grated courgette and oats) and fruit. Sometimes my days can get pretty hectic and I don’t always have a chance to plan my meals in advance, but knowing that I’ve had 2-3 of my 7 a day before I’ve even left the house helps ensure that I’m getting those essential micronutrients in.

WHAT’S YOUR YIN?
Favourite way to indulge

I have a huge weakness for ice cream. Although I’m dairy intolerant and I try to limit my consumption, ice cream is just one indulgence I cannot be without. A few scoops of good, proper, creamy gelato at the weekend is my favourite treat. As for what flavour? Anything chocolate or nutty!


"I NEARLY ALWAYS START MY DAY WITH A BOWL OF 'ZOATS' AND FRUIT."


WHAT ACTIVEWEAR BRAND ARE YOU LOVING AT THE MOMENT?

I’m currently lusting over everything Lorna Jane. Their activewear ticks every box – functional design, quality fabric and stylish cuts. Feeling comfortable and confident in your workout gear makes all the difference for having a great gym session and Lorna Jane both looks and feels incredible.

IF YOU HAD TO GIVE ONE FITNESS TIP TO OUR LADIES THAT LIFT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Don’t be afraid to seek help. We typically associate the gym with strength and independence and so a lot of people shy away from appearing weak by asking for assistance when it comes to their training and consequently they don’t acquire the knowledge and tools they need to establish a fitness regime that’s right for their body. But there’s absolutely no shame in getting help, whether that’s with form, nutrition, or even just having someone spot your squat. These things make all the difference for successfully building a stronger and healthier body. No matter what stage of fitness you’re at, you can always learn more and improve.


TARA GADRE

Meet Tara; self-confessed nutrition geek with a big love for pizza.

By day, Tara is a personal trainer and when she’s not working with clients, she’s out and about exploring the city of London (or chilling at home with Netflix and a bar of dark chocolate.)

With her balanced approach to fitness and love for heavy deadlifts, we knew we’d get along well. Here’s Tara’s musings on all things fitness, food and fashion…


"MY FRIENDS OFTEN JOKE THAT I TRAIN TO EAT."


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE OF TRAINING AND WHY?

My favourite type of training is probably weightlifting as I use strength training predominantly in my job as a PT! I love the progressions you can keep pushing yourself to in reaching various strength goals, and there’s always new challenges you can push yourself towards to keep yourself motivated- i.e first nail pull-ups, then start weighting them.

WHAT’S YOUR YIN?
Favourite way to indulge

My yin would have to be chocolate, a good brownie and a glass of red wine or a few gins at the weekend. I love going exploring London at the weekend with friends, and often joke that I train to eat! I’m a firm believer in the word balance.

WHAT’S YOUR YANG?
Go-to healthy habit

My yang would have to be a protein breakfast like eggs with loads of greens. Yes I’m one of those weird ones that actually likes broccoli! I find it helps balance my brownie habit. But seriously, starting the day with a protein breakfast is a great way to keep energy levels on a high from the start of the day, keep your blood sugar levels steady, and keep you full till your next meal.


"If you love what you do, its more likely to become a consistent habit over time."


WHAT ACTIVEWEAR BRAND ARE YOU LOVING AT THE MOMENT?

The active wear brand that I love at the moment is currently LNDR. The clothes are super wearable to train in, and wear out, which often merge into one when you spend your days wearing lycra! I love the grey and navy sports crops, as I can layer smarter tops or shirts over them if I’m rushing to meetings straight from the gym. Plus all the designs are beautiful and the designer Jo is super talented.

IF YOU HAD TO GIVE ONE FITNESS TIP TO OUR LADIES THAT LIFT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

If I had one fitness tip to pass on to someone starting their fitness journey, it would be to pick what you love doing. First find that out, then move on from there and try different things. You don’t necessary need to pump iron, or train insane to be into fitness. Exercising is for everyone. Find how you like to move, move often, and go from there. If you love what you do, its more likely to become a consistent habit over time.


SHONA VERTUE

Meet Shona Vertue; part yoga teacher, part personal trainer.

With over 50,000 followers on Instagram, it’s fair to say she is pretty Insta-famous. And it’s no surprise. Shona empowers women to focus on physical accomplishments which are a feat of strength or skill instead of the number on the scale. (We like this girl.)

By embracing both strength work and flexibility practice into your training, Shona believes you can explore the full capabilities of the human body – and in her own words ‘uplift your soul and your butt.’

We spoke to Shona and hit her with our 5 questions.


"ALL MY HABITS ARE HEALTHY, EVEN THE ONES THAT ARE MORE INDULGENT."


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE OF TRAINING AND WHY?

The Vertue Method of course! It’s a practice that addresses the need to both strengthen and mobilise our body by combining dynamic vinyasa yoga, glute activation, weighted kettle bell circuits and gymnastics core into one workout.

WHAT’S YOUR YANG?

I like to think that all my habits are healthy, even the ones that are ‘indulgent’ because without the ability to indulge every now and then, I would be a psychological mess! Every morning and every evening before bed I meditate and that has been a huge help for me. I’ll always be a mover and shaker because I grew up a gymnast, but meditation keeps me sane.

WHAT’S YOUR YIN?

I love pizza at Pizza East, they also make a mean Old Fashioned.


"FITNESS SHOULD NEVER COME AT THE COST OF YOUR OVERALL HEALTH."


WHAT ACTIVEWEAR BRAND ARE YOU LOVING AT THE MOMENT?

New Balance! I have always loved their trainers but they are also really opening up their yoga and sport luxe range which is perfect for me because I can go out to dinner in my active wear without people noticing! 

IF YOU HAD TO GIVE ONE FITNESS TIP TO OUR LADIES THAT LIFT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

“Fitness” should never come at the cost of your overall health. Knowing the difference between the two will determine the longevity of your goals.


THE BLONDE ETHOS

Meet The Blonde Thos; the Alice in Wonderland of the fitness world.

Natalie Goodchild is her name and curiosity is in her nature. With her thirst for knowledge and scientific approach to fitness, Natalie’s blog is a haven of technical articles from diets and fitness trackers to supplementation and weight training.

Balance, moderation and sustainability is at the core of The Blonde Ethos, three values which mirror our own. We sat down with Natalie and hit her with our 5 burning questions.


"I FELL IN LOVE FOR THE STRENGTH IT GAVE ME."


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE OF TRAINING AND WHY?

I love to get variety into my training regime but it’s mainly based around weight training. I fell in love with weight training for the confidence and strength it gave me, for how it encouraged me to learn about the anatomy of my body, for how it enables me to sculpt my body however I like, and for how varied it can be in itself.

WHAT’S YOUR YANG?

I always have a protein shake and a handful of supplements with breakfast – it’s my insurance policy. Whatever happens in the hours following brekkie, I know that my nutrition has somewhat been taken care of.

WHAT’S YOUR YIN?

Sweeties. I’m not one for desserts, pastries or booze but give me a big bag of pick ‘n’ mix and I’m yours.

Knowing that I can get a little carried away on a trip to the sweet shop, I try to be really conscious of what I eat during the week – focusing on nutritious whole foods to make me feel good and stay productive – and save treats until the weekend. If I fancy something in particular during the week, I’ll make a mental note of it and treat myself when Friday comes around. After the wait, it tastes so much better!


"GIVE ME A BIG BAG OF PICK 'N' MIX AND I'M YOURS."


WHAT ACTIVEWEAR BRAND ARE YOU LOVING AT THE MOMENT?

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a single favourite activewear brand. I love to pick and choose high quality pieces that perform and last, so sites like Hip and Healthy tend to be my go-to when jutting out my workout wardrobe!

IF YOU HAD TO GIVE ONE FITNESS TIP TO OUR LADIES THAT LIFT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Listen to your body. If something hurts, stop. If you’re feeling tired, rest. If you’re hungry, eat.

I’m not saying that it’s okay to make excuses or go easy on yourself – that won’t get you the results that make you feel good – but you should know the dangers of overtraining, under-eating or under-sleeping . I’ve had some of my strongest training sessions after a week off!



THE FASHION FITNESS FOODIE

Meet The Fashion Fitness Foodie; fitness fashion blogger and our very own marketing executive.

Since joining the company two years ago, Lucy's love of weightlifting has grown. She weight trains 4 times a week and is a huge advocate of a balanced lifestyle (and sometimes that does mean a chocolate bar in each hand.)

Through her Instagram, she strives to inspire other ladies and show that you can enjoy a full and hectic life whilst keeping fit and healthy. We sat down with Lucy for five minutes to hit her with some questions.


"I ALWAYS FELT THIS PRESSURE TO BE GOOD AT EVERYTHING."


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE OF TRAINING AND WHY?

I’ve never been a cardio bunny. I hate running and have never really had the inclination to try and learn to love it. I always felt this pressure to be good at everything but since coming to SIX3NINE, I learnt that the best style of training for you is the one you love the most.
I start weight training three years ago and have never looked back. Once I got some help with my form ‘the fear’ of the weights area just disappeared. Most weeks I now train 4 times a week for just under an hour, following a structured programme and attending Ladies That Lift when I can.

WHAT’S YOUR YANG? (EG. YOUR BEST HEALTHY HABIT)

I love walking to work and try to do that as much as possible. It takes me about an hour and half but it injects a good amount of movement to my pretty sedentary day. I like to use it as my ‘buffer’. Knowing I’ve walked over 20 miles of my commute at the end of the week means I can go out for a big dinner and drinks whilst still keeping on track towards my goals.

WHAT’S YOUR YIN? (EG. HOW YOU LIKE TO INDULGE)

Sweets and chocolate, without a doubt! I have the biggest sweet tooth ever and love nothing more than a big bag of pick and mix. White chocolate jazzies are probably my favourite – I love going to the cinema purely so I can visit the Candy King station!


"FIND WHAT YOU LOVE AND DO THAT."


WHAT ACTIVEWEAR BRAND ARE YOU LOVING AT THE MOMENT?

I really love Adanola. They are a new minimal activewear brand which only launched a few months ago. Their colour scheme consists of black, white, grey and nude – and being the colour-phobe that I am, I want it all.

Because I wear activewear all day most days, I’m always looking for leggings and tops which can be worn both in the gym and for meetings. Adanola’s collection offers just that.

IF YOU HAD TO GIVE ONE FITNESS TIP TO OUR LADIES THAT LIFT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Find what you love and do that. There is always an optimal way to reach a goal, but ultimately the one which you’ll have the best chance adhering to is the one you enjoy. There’s no point forcing yourself to do spin classes if you hate spin classes.



TWICE THE HEALTH

Meet Twice The Health; the fitness duo that have taken Instagram by storm.

With their love of health and all thing matching, Hannah and Emily share healthy recipes, workout inspo and activewear finds on a daily basis. Think of them as the fit sisters you never had. We sat down with these ladies that lift and fired the questions at the them that you’ve been asking.


"I WILL NEVER START THE DAY ON EMPTY."


WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE STYLE OF TRAINING AND WHY?

EMILY: Functional strength training with a slice of running outdoors. We both got into weights during our second year at university and have never looked back since. Not only has it improved our overall strength and health, it has enabled us to both build  bodies we’re incredibly proud of!

HANNAH: Running was where it all began, so of course that sits as a firm favourite for me. However numerous injuries have meant I’ve had to mix things up! One element of my training I’m really enjoying at the moment is the calisthenics/body weight style training I do with ‘Coach Dom’ at your home hub! I’m building strength I never knew I had and finally finding familiarity in being upside down.

WHAT’S YOUR YANG?

EMILY: Starting the day with a balanced breakfast. I will never start the day on empty! My favorite breakfasts are protein zoats or poached eggs with bacon, avocado and rye bread. 

HANNAH: I always make sure I’m carrying a guilt free sweet snack, be it an FFF favourite or a classic Quest bar. I have the biggest sweet tooth, and by being prepared with an on the go treat I’m able to stay on track whilst curbing the craving.

WHAT’S YOUR YIN?

EMILY: Not drinking enough water! Oh and I also have a mild addiction to Reese’s pieces peanut butter cups!

HANNAH: Flex bowls… I have every intention of keeping them fairly guilt free, but once I start I cannot stop. Something that should have been just yoghurt and peanut butter suddenly becomes a Reese’s cup, white chocolate brownie, marshmallow mountain and I’m never really sure how.


"NOTHING BEATS THAT FEELING OF EUPHORIA WHEN YOU CONQUER A CHALLENGE."


WHAT ACTIVEWEAR BRAND ARE YOU LOVING AT THE MOMENT?

EMILY: Ooo that’s a real tough one, there is so much beautiful kit out there at the moment

HANNAH: I think it depends on what we are doing. For challenges its got to be The North Face. Their kit is really practical but recently they have really upped their game on the design front bringing functional fashion right to our feet… (and arms and legs and bodies!)

EMILY: For strength training in the gym we will almost always be in matching Lorna Jane. You just cant beat those patterns and flattering shape.

HANNAH: I have recently been introducing more yoga into my workouts and  have as a result fallen in LOVE the new Whistles range. It is completely seamless and so soft. I would live in it if I could! 

IF YOU HAD TO GIVE ONE FITNESS TIP TO OUR LADIES THAT LIFT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

EMILY: I think we would have to stay true to our new blog mantra…’take on a challenge!’ 

HANNAH: I couldn’t agree more. Find something that you have never done before, set a date or book that race and get training! Nothing beats that feeling of euphoria when you conquer a challenge!