Blog

The importance of setting goals

One thing that I have learnt since I started taking my fitness seriously, is to never underestimate the importance of having a goal to focus on. Time after time I would aimlessly wander into the gym and do the same thing every day (cardio, of course) and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted. I now know this was because I hadn’t considered a specific goal to focus on, and so I wasn’t working towards anything.

Since setting myself goals (both aesthetic and strength) I began to notice improvements with my body and mind. My long-term goals have been to improve my strength when lifting, strengthen my abs, and of course work on the booty. With these goals in mind, I started researching as to how I could achieve them. However, I do understand that it’s not as easy as that, with so much conflicting research it requires trial and error, but you will eventually find a way of achieving your goals that is best suited to you. With my long-term goals in mind, I will then make a mental note of what I want to achieve in the short-term to help my progress towards the goal e.g to deadlift/squat a certain weight.

If this method isn’t for you, you might consider setting yourself ‘SMART’ targets. This is a way to set a goal that encourages you to deconstruct your goal to make it more achievable;

Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time

Once you have a goal in mind you can begin to think about the ways in which you can achieve it, measure your progress, and keep on the right track to reaching your goal whilst ensuring it is manageable. The key thing here is how you interact with your goal – it’s something that you should be investing energy and focus into.

I know some people may think that having a goal takes the fun away from getting fit and staying healthy, but I love how flexible you can be with your goals. They can be long-term, short-term, generic, or specific, the important thing is to have something to work towards which will help you to see those results! My experience is that a goal helps to keep me motivated as I’m so determined to achieve it.

Setting yourself a goal also has other benefits, such as providing you with a sense of achievement, and helps you to keep track of your progress by forcing you to see how far you’ve come – something we could definitely all acknowledge and appreciate more!

To wrap this post up, if you’re not seeing the changes that you want to get I would seriously recommend coming up with a long-term goal or area to focus your efforts on, then work out how you are going to achieve this by setting attainable short-term goals to keep you in the right direction.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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Blog, Treats

Greek Yoghurt Desserts

We all know the feeling when you’ve had a lovely dinner, but you would love something sweet after, that won’t make you feel guilty.  I’ve created my go-to greek yoghurt ‘desserts’ for when the sweet cravings are real! Also, they taste pretty similar to the actual desserts I’ve based the recipes off of, without all the sugar and saturated fat. If you are a vegan you can easily substitute the greek yoghurt for a vegan alternative such as Alpro. I have tried this myself, and the recipes still taste just as good. Let’s get into the desserty goodness…

1) Apple Crumble

If you love your traditional British desserts, then this is the one for you. I’ve added Myprotein toffee flavdrops which sweeten’s it up and adds something extra to this dessert. Also by using granola, it replaces the crumble without adding all the fat and sugar that would usually go into the traditional dessert.

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Ingredients:

  • x1 apple, sliced (I used Gala apples)
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Toffee flavdrops (available from Bulkpowders or Myprotein)
  • Granola (Preferably reduced sugar)
  • A drizzle of honey
  • Chia seeds (optional)

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2) Strawberry shortcake

SO good! The combinations of the crunchy shortcake biscuits and the fresh strawberries makes this taste so dreamy. To sweeten it, I drizzled some honey over and sprinkled some chia seeds to add in some healthy fats and omegas.

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Ingredients:

  • x1 crumbled shortbread biscuit
  • Strawberries
  • A drizzle of honey
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Chia seeds

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3) Banoffee pie

This one looks a lot unhealthier than what it actually is, as it uses sugar-free digestive biscuits (from a brand called Siro, which I purchased from Sainsbury’s ) and a grating of dark chocolate.

 

Ingredients:

  • Dark chocolate chips or grated dark chocolate
  • Toffee ‘flavdrops’ (Myprotein)
  • 1/2 a banana, sliced
  • x1 digestive biscuit, crumbled
  • Greek yoghurt

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4) Eton Mess

Saving the naughtiest one until last! This pretty much is the real thing except without the cream, making this one somewhat healthier without compromising the flavour. Also, this is definitely my favourite one of the bunch as Eton Mess is one of my favourite summer desserts. I found some tiny coconut meringues in M&S that make this taste so good.

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Ingredients:

  • Mini meringues, whole or crumbled
  • Strawberries
  • Chia seeds
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Honey (optional)

eton mess 1

I hope you try a few of these out as they are so delicious! Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

Foodie Finds – July 2018

What a fab month July has been (although slightly worrying that I’m halfway through my uni summer break already). I wish this weather will never end, as everyone is in such high spirits for once (so long as you don’t mention the World cup!)

I found some different goodies this month, so I hope there is something here that takes your fancy.

1) Marmite Cashews38152756_2082056911868557_620041695261622272_n

Don’t knock these before you’ve tried them! I personally am I marmite fan, however, I know you will either love it or hate it :’). I think the marmite goes so well with the cashews making them very moreish (marmite fans be warned). Whatsmore, they also have all the benefits of Marmite as it contains B12, folic acid, and niacin.

38036784_2082056688535246_8191318574179024896_n2) Kind Bar – Dark chocolate nuts and sea salt

I picked this up from Sainsbury’s as a pre-workout snack, and it was so good! What with all the protein and energy bars out there today, this one really stands out to me, due to it’s simple and raw ingredients. Each bar contains 5.6g of protein and over half the bar is made from nuts. I’ve tried the peanut butter one which is also just as good!

3) Deliciously Ella Energy balls38227006_2082057235201858_4958439228112371712_n

You can’t get more raw than this! These energy balls only contain six ingredients and with the most part being made from dates. They also claim to be a source of copper, which is good for energy levels and so they would make a perfect pre-workout snack. The pack consists of 5g of protein which isn’t much at all, but I think the main purpose is to provide you with energy as opposed to protein. In terms of taste, they are very rich and 6 is most definitely enough!

38001549_2082057661868482_7957675853674971136_n4) Women’s best protein bites

These remind me of mini grenade bites, and so I like them a lot! I haven’t actually tried any of the women’s best range, but these were so good! They are so chocolatey, so you can get away with having a few and still feeling satisfied. To me, these are a great alternative to chocolate as they are low in sugar and high in protein and plus the packaging is so pretty :’)

 

5) Ape coconut bites38195959_2082057771868471_2795826459027963904_n

These were purchased from Boots and they are unlike anything that I’ve tried before. The best way to describe them is like a crunchy, creamy crisp! In terms of ingredients they only contain coconut, tapioca starch, and sea salt, so no nasties lurking here!

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

We aren’t all self-obssesed…

Probably one of the most important blog posts that I’ve written, and I think this is something that needs to be said. Along with the fitness lifestyle comes the association that those who dedicate themselves to living this way, are self-centered, self-obsessed, and vain. Here’s why this simply isn’t the case.

First of all, I feel that there are far worse things that someone can dedicate their time to, and a healthy lifestyle is by no means one! This lifestyle is seriously misunderstood, and although it may appear that going to the gym frequently, being mindful of what you eat, and generally investing time in your own health and wellbeing, is ‘self-obsessed’, I question if this really is the case? Arguably, a healthy lifestyle is time-consuming and requires a degree of focus, but I don’t feel this warrants a person being considered ‘self-obsessed’ for trying to become a better version of themself. This to me is a fault in our society, that we feel the need to comment on another’s healthy lifestyle just because it is different to our own.

Having taken my fitness and health seriously in the past two years I have seen first-hand the benefits it can bring to your life, not only do you feel physically energised, stronger, and fitter, but I feel this way of life does wonders for your mental health. Exercise is a proven way to help better manage stress levels, it can also act as a distraction from anxious feelings as during your workout you are essentially practicing mindfulness by focusing on the present and forgetting about any worries.

However, in truth, I think the stereo-type manifests from what people see online, and by this, I mean certain Instagram accounts. Admittedly, Instagram is full of ‘progress pictures’ posted by fitness influencers and accounts, which involve sharing the physical progress that someone has made. This is where I feel confidence gets confused with arrogance. I understand the importance of progress pictures as, depending on your fitness goal, the scales only show an increase due to the muscle mass gained (especailly if you are into weightlifting). Therefore, progress pictures make a great solution for this as they give you a physical reference to compare against to see how you are doing in relation to your goals. Moreover, when you live, eat, and breathe this lifestyle it can be very hard to notice your own progress as often we can become so fixated on a goal that we forget to recognise the milestones that we have passed. Below are two progress pictures that I took. The righthand picture was taken in my first year of university, and the lefthand picture was taken towards the end of my second year. If I didn’t take these two pictures, I wouldn’t have recognised just how much my body has changed over the past two years.

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Personally, I see no wrong in sharing your achievements through progress pictures when it comes to fitness, as it is so much more than an ‘arrogant’ picture, it’s symbolic of the hours of time and effort that someone has put into this lifestyle, and this should only be encouraged.

I guess the main point of this post was to give an insight into the level of commitment required to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I feel this dedication should only be encouraged rather than tarnished as arrogant and self-obsessed.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

Foodie Finds – June 2018

Thank you, UK for actually giving us a nice summer this year! This is the first summer that I’m actually thankful that I’ve booked a holiday for later in the year, so to make the most of this lovely weather! Overall, June has been a pretty good month…and not a bad football score either (not including the recent match… still all to play for yet! :’)). Also, I’m currently on my summer break from uni, so stay tuned for some interesting blog posts. Let’s get into this months foodie finds…

1) Livias Kitchen Nugglets36357148_2012027658871483_2468014707953369088_n

Probably my favourite Livias kitchen product that I’ve tried! I love the raw chocolatey flavour that they have and that they have no refined sugars in them. They are coated in chocolate also, making them so tasty.  I would definitely give them a go if you are looking for a healthier alternative to satisfy your sweet cravings! If you’re looking to buy these, I got mine from Sainsbury’s, but Boots also sell them.

36224627_2012028325538083_1544847028532543488_n.jpg2) Tesco Naan Crackers

I am so obsessed with these things, and I’m not sure why as they aren’t exactly anything special :’) They literally are crackers that taste like Naan bread…I think it’s because I love the flavours of Indian cuisine (especially naan bread) so these were bound to be a winner from the start. I have tried both the multiseed naan crackers and the tandori crackers and both are divine. For £1.35 I would give them a go, and see if you become as obsessed as I am :’)

3) Pikelets36320218_2012027678871481_2544576571633565696_n.jpg

I had never heard of these before and had to give them a try. They are a cross between a pancake and a crumpet but taste more savoury than a pancake with the texture of a crumpet. Overall, I’d say they are very plain tasting but the concept is novel!

 

36258397_2012027892204793_3033838703165308928_n4) Hartleys Cloudy Jelly 

I saw these in Tesco and as the flavours sounded different I wanted to try them out! I picked up the raspberry lemonade and the elderflower lemonade flavours. My favourite flavour was definitely the elderflower one as it wasn’t too sweet, but both make perfect summery flavours.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

Foodie Finds – May 2018

Where is this year going?! It is crazy to think I have nearly finished my second year at uni! With that being said, I am more than ready to have a break! :’) I managed to find some unusual treats this month such as Mochi, cacao nibs, and edamame pasta. Here are my foodie finds for May;

33691138_1961611787246404_8929202309343215616_n1) Bulkpowders Chocolate Orange Cookie

Yum. This is a soft protein cookie, containing over 27g of protein, that tastes so good! I love the chocolate and orange combo so this was bound to be a winner for me, but if that’s not your thing they also do a white chocolate and raspberry cookie. If you like soft cookies, you will love this. It costs £2.49 for one cookie, and although this may seem a bit pricey you do get a lot of protein for that…think of the macros! 😉

2) Sunwave Mochi Assortment33661822_1961612090579707_3655008531716767744_n

I first had Mochi ay Yosushi! and I honestly loved it so much I had to get some more. I actually bought this from Amazon (Here is the link if you’re curious ;)). The flavours here were red bean, peanut, and sesame.

Although this isn’t as nice as fresh Mochi, it still resembles it very well. I think I like this so much because it is the weirdest food I have ever had as the texture is so strange and chewy! Mochi is a soft ball of ground rice which is typically filled with a red or black bean centre and dusted with either cocoa powder, matcha powder, or potato starch. It originates from Japan, where they value the texture just as much as the flavour, which is what makes it so unique!

33657762_1961611887246394_350614015916900352_n3) Bulkpowders Wholemeal and Oat  Bagel

I love this idea of a high-protein carb, as it makes post-workout snacks so much easier! You get four in a pack, which costs £3.49, and each bagel has over 21g of protein. However, they are quite dry if you were to eat them without toasting them and topping them with something tasty. Nonetheless, I would get them again just because it makes life easier! I topped my bagel with almond butter, banana slices, desiccated coconut and cacao nibs.

4) Livias Kitchen Raw Millionaire Bites33464576_1961611797246403_1088987952878452736_n

These are so dreamy! They are chocolate orange flavoured mini brownies, with an oat base, a date ‘caramel’ centre and are topped with a raw chocolate brownie. Healthy alternatives to unhealthy treats are the best, especially when they taste as good as this. You get three in a pack, and although they are quite small they are very rich and so this makes them perfect to satisfy your sweet cravings!

33830480_1961611973913052_4659049895565459456_n5) Edamame Pasta

I actually posted a recipe for this last week using mackerel, olives, tomatoes, and lots of others yummy ingredients. If you want to check that out, I’ll link it here. You can get this spaghetti virtually anywhere now such as Holland & Barrett, Tesco, and Aldi (where I get mine from costing £1.99). It’s so versatile you can literally sub it for pasta if you’re looking to up the protein and lower the carbs of any dish. Other kinds of spaghetti similar to this include soybean and black bean, which both taste equally as good!

6) Bulkpowders Organic Cacao Nibs33766983_1961611920579724_966858865599578112_n

I promise this post isn’t sponsored by Bulkpowders…they just had a very good sale on at the time I placed my order :’). Although they do sound a lot like cow nips, these are actually a raw, chocolate superfood. They come from the seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree. In terms of antioxidants, they have more than green tea, blueberries, and goji berries also, they are rich in sulfur and magnesium. A lot of people get confused between cocoa and cacao, so to clarify cacao is a more natural form of the cacao bean, that undergoes less processing than cocoa which dramatically increases the nutritional benefits. So cacao nibs are just one form that cacao beans can take. I will top my porridge with them or add them to Greek yoghurt for an intense chocolate hit.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

 

 

Dinner, Recipies

Edamame Pasta Dish

I’ve recently become so obsessed with using pasta alternatives such as edamame or black bean spaghetti! I prefer it to whole wheat spaghetti, as it actually offers nutritional benefits such as 22g of protein per 50g (amazing!) plus it’s also lower in carbohydrates, with only 16g per 100g.  Also, it is gluten-free, vegan, and a great source of fiber! Basically, I have come to love the stuff and so I really wanted to share a yummy recipe with you all so you could give it a go too!

This dish is one of my absolute favourites to make because it is quick, simple, and budget-friendly. You can find the pasta alternative in most supermarkets such as Aldi and Tesco, if not you can buy it online from Holland & Barrett.

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Ingredients:

  • Edamame or black bean spaghetti
  • Tinned mackerel in tomato sauce
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Red or white onions (diced)
  • Garlic
  • paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Basil (fresh)
  • Olives
  • Spinach

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Method:

  1. In a frying pan sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the fresh tomatoes and fry for a further two minutes
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the spaghetti (this cooks very quickly, and so it should only take between 5-8 minutes
  3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to to the frying pan
  4. turn the heat down to a lower setting, and add all other remaining ingredients and spices
  5. Serve and enjoy!

(I also added mushrooms and mangetout to my dish!)

Macros:

  • 319 calories (per serving, sharing the mackerel between two dishes)
  • 14.9g carbs
  • 10.2g Fat
  • 31.9g protein

 

You can also add any other veggies to this dish such as broccoli or top the dish with avocado, which also works really well. I hope you enjoy this healthy pasta dish,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

How to Stay Organised at Uni

Uni is 50% organisation and 50% hard work. If you manage to stay organised, and on top of essays, presentations, and exams…I can assure you, you will be fine!

What with exams only a few weeks away for most uni’s, I thought this post would be very relevant. It is crucial to stay organised, as there is so much you have to think about at uni, that it can get really overwhelming if you don’t. Although organisation can take some time to do, and feel like a chore at first, it soon becomes part of your routine. Also, the organisation helps you to work effectively which is definitely key when you’re trying to manage your time.

Here are a few of the ways that I stay organised at uni…

1.Plan your week

I do this using a desktop sticky-note app. I write down when my lectures are, what time I plan to go to the gym, and any other events or activities I have planned for the upcoming week. This really helps me to visualise what my week will be like so that I can allow extra time for things such as revision and coursework. As my lecture times are constant, I hardly have to update this so its a low maintenance way of staying organised!

2. Plan your mealsdiners

I discussed more on this in my post about how to stay healthy at uni, but I swear by it! I think there is nothing more important than a good diet when you’re wanting to perform well, and often round exams it can be a chore to spend time thinking about what to eat. To overcome this, I will plan my meals so that I know my body is getting the nutrition that it needs. Also, it’s cheaper to do this, as you’re not wasting food and you’re guaranteed to eat something healthy.

3. Write down all your goals before the week has begun

To me, this is the most important one, as it gives my week a sense of direction in terms of what I want to achieve. I also find this keeps me motivated, as I have a target that I can work towards. I will simply list all the things that I want to get achieved in the upcoming week. I list them all on sticky notes on my computer, so whenever I use my computer I’m reminded of what I need to do.

4. Make a revision timetable near exams

Call me the timetable queen :’) I’ve created so many of these, that I think I have an obsession.  Sometimes I’ll create a timetable of the content that I need to cover day by day, and other times I will create a more detailed timetable of everything I need to do in a particular time frame. The timetable below is the one I am currently going by to revise for my second-year uni exams.

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5. Utilise your uni breaks

Admittedly, the least appealing one here but, it will help you in the long-run! I’m not saying that you should do a 9-5 and study like crazy on your easter/Christmas break, however, you will feel more relaxed about things knowing that you have started to write an assignment due in, or started revision for an upcoming exam. It’s all about getting the balance between feeling refreshed on return to uni, but also having accomplished something to give you a head start for when things inevitably become more stressful.

Wishing you all the luck if you have exams or dissertations due,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

My Weekly Food Shop

As Sunday is my get-sh*t-done day, I thought I would share with you what my weekly food shop looks like, so if you follow my Instagram (@jazzy_b_fit) you’ll realise just how simple it is to make the meals that I cook. As I’m a student, I try to keep the cost of things fairly low, and I’ll spend anywhere between £18-£25 per week which covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and my snacks. Typically, I do my shop in places like Aldi or Asda as you get so much more for your money. My shop this week came to £25.65, which also included some extras that I don’t usually buy. I try to do a balanced and healthy food shop full of lots of fruit and veg, and a few yummy treats of course ;).

I always plan my meals from Sunday to Sunday, as I find meal planning reduces food waste and is cost effective. This is my meal plan for the coming week:

Dinners:
Monday – Corriander-lime grilled tuna steak with avo-cucumber salsa
Tuesday – Garlic mushroom chicken quinoa
Wednesday- Spicy chickpea and quinoa bowl
Thursday – Moroccan red lentil and tomato stew
Friday – Mackerel pasta
Saturday – Leftovers
Sunday – Cashew and Chicken Stir-fry

I’ve broken my shop down into protein, fruit & veg,  snacks, and carbs.

Protein:

You won’t find any meat in this pesci’s trolley…only fish and vegan sources of protein here! The most expensive thing here is the tuna steaks at £2.99, but in comparison to meat this is so cheap, plus it contains a lot of protein. The mixed nuts are mainly for snacking on, as they are high in good fats and of course, protein.

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Veggies:

As you can see, a majority of my food shop is fruit and veg! As well as using this for lunch and dinners I will tend to snack on things like avocado on toast with chili flakes, black pepper, and salt.

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Fruit:

I think fruit is also great to snack on and makes a great addition to porridge. The lemon and limes are for flavoring up some of my mid-week dishes. This is typical of the fruit that I will buy on a weekly basis, as its relatively cheap and versatile.

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Carbs:

I will only buy grains and carbs when I need them, and this week I didn’t really need much. Although I’m looking forward to trying the edamame spaghetti which has 22g of protein per serving! I’ll use the bread as a post-workout snack with peanut butter and banana or topped with smashed avocado.

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Thank you for reading and happy Sunday-shopping,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

How to Feel Confident in a Gym

I completely get that Gyms can be scary places at times. There is nothing more intimidating than when you’re first starting out, and it feels like everyone else around you knows exactly what they’re doing, how to work everything, and you really don’t. But everyone feels like this initially, the key is to keep going. I’ll be sharing my tips on what makes me feel confident in the gym so you can get rid of those pre-gym nerves.

1. Realise that everyone has an equal right.

I know this sounds very simple, but once I realised that everyone in the gym pays the same amount as me, it gave me a sense of entitlement. When I first joined the gym, I found myself only sticking to cardio machines, such as the cross-trainer and treadmill, as I felt self-contained and like I wasn’t going to get in the way of those serious ‘gym-goers’. Then I realised I’m paying the same amount as everyone here, and so I’m just as entitled to use everything. This also applies to those who feel put off by the weights section…just go for it and stand your ground!

2. Plan your workout.

I think half of some of the trouble is not that people don’t know how they are going to complete their workout, it’s what this workout will entail. I never step foot into the gym unless I’m completely certain of what my workout will be, and how many sets/reps of each exercise I’m planning on completing. This gives me a sense of direction and allows me to get the most out of my gym session, plus it takes some of the stress out of thinking what to do next, as it’s all there in front of you. Typically, I’ll write my workout in the note section of my phone so I can refer back to the same workout whenever!

3. Wear something that makes you feel confident.

This could be your favourite pair of gym leggings, or some new trainers, or anything else that makes you feel good and ready to complete an amazing workout. I’m not saying that what you wear will get rid of the worries you have about the gym, but it certainly will help in making you feel good! I believe if you feel good within yourself, your self-confidence will follow.

4. Go with a gym partner

So many people do this, and I think it’s a great idea when you’re new to the gym and still figuring out how everything works, and what machines work best for you. Despite offering many benefits, such as providing motivation and checking your form, a gym buddy can help you to figure out how all the machines and equipment work. Also, this one will help if you want to venture into the weights section.

4. Focus on yourself.

Don’t forget why you go to the gym in the first place. For me, I’m there to better myself, to improve my health and fitness, and to become the best version of myself – don’t let anyone get in the way this. I really focus on the quality of my workout when I’m at the gym, my form, and so many other things, that often I lose track of my surroundings and drown out what everybody else is doing or saying. Also, I know it may feel like people stare in the gym, but they might actually be taking inspiration from your workout – just be confident in yourself ❤

I hope this has inspired some of you to join the gym, if this is the reason why you have been putting it off, and for those of you that already go, to have an amazing care-free session,

Jazzy B ❤