In our Q&A series, we take some time out with our #FlyberyWomen. From brand owners and designers, to health and fitness instructors; we quiz them on their day to day lives and get to know what makes them tick.
This week, we’ve been speaking to fitness enthusiast and general adventurer Natalie from ‘A Balanced Life’ blog. As she strives to encourage others to live their best possible balanced life through health, fitness and happiness, she talks us through her own journey and how it has shaped the person she is today…
Who is Natalie - describe yourself briefly...
I’m your average 20 something from the North West of England trying to work towards that “balanced lifestyle”.
I have a passion for health, fitness and wellbeing and have recently qualified as a personal trainer so I can help others too. When I’m not sweating it out I’m usually either eating (I’m a serial foodie), enjoying a coffee (flat white is my drink of choice), watching a film (I like them all), shopping (forever activewear) or planning my next adventure (with an ever growing list of places to see and things to explore..). I wholeheartedly believe in a balance across all aspects of life and strive to make that easier for others to achieve.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Most days, my morning routine is the same, I start with some exercise – usually handstand and skill work, sometimes yoga, followed by 10 minutes of meditation then I grab a hot water with lemon, apple cider vinegar and manuka honey, jump in a cold shoulder, get ready, make some breakfast and head to work!
How does your typical day look? What do you do when you’re not working out?
Currently, my typical day is work Monday to Friday, 9-5, I have a very sedentary job but I try to keep as active as possible through the day. After work I exercise and in the evenings I like to get out for some fresh air, work on my blog, see my friends, go to the cinema (at least once a week I don’t watch TV but I LOVE films), spend time with my nephew or go out for food. I’m usually pretty chilled in the evenings!
At the weekend I usually like to head up to the lake district to relax or go for a hike, paddle board, kayak – whatever I feel like - I can go climbing, a bike ride or spend the day with my family – I usually end up going out for some good food, or at least coffee (and a cake!)
What got you into fitness? Tell us more about your background...
I always had an active childhood, doing lots of sports growing up. My background is mainly in gymnastics (specifically sports acrobatics – if you’re not familiar you should have a look on youtube), which I also coach. Since school I have always been involved in exercise, attending gyms and different classes regularly as well as starting crossfit about 5 years ago. I love to learn new skills whether these are gymnastics, yoga or barbell lifts, so I always have a ‘goals list’ of movements to work on. Last year I decided to take it a step further and do my personal trainer qualification.
Why did you start your blog?
I often get asked for advice when it comes to diet, fitness and general ‘healthy lifestyles’ in my day to day life, so I decided to start a blog in the hope of helping and inspiring others to access a healthier lifestyle.
How many times a week do you train?
Usually between 4-5 times a week (often split days training morning and after work) but I incorporate activity into a lot of my daily life.
How do you balance your work with training routine?
I like to exercise first thing to get it done and set me up for the day, my alarm goes off at 5:30 (I go to bed early and get up early) then in the afternoon I exercise as soon as I get back from work – if I have other plans I don’t beat myself up about missing a workout! I think the key to getting your training done is having a plan (even if it is only a basic outline) and listening to your body.
You recently went to SoulCircus festival? How was it?
It was amazing, I had the best time and learnt so much. There was such a variety of unique classes and activities along with inspiring talks, excellent music and delicious food. It was the smallest festival I’ve been to and there was a fantastically relaxed vibe, with so many lovely, like-minded people and the sauna and hot tubs were the dream to unwind after a packed day!
What was the best part of the festival? Would you recommend it to others?
Absolutely, there were so many highlights but I particularly enjoyed doing the aerial slings and acro yoga. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys yoga, or just wants a restful few days in the beautiful countryside surrounded by the most interesting group of people!
What are your favourite fitness brands?
I have a real love for all things activewear - I am loving Adidas footwear at the moment, though I love my Nike Metcons too! I have a soft spot for printed leggings so All Fenix, The Upside (super soft!) and L’urv are winning for me at the moment. I also like Adanola and Lululemon for basics and because they are so comfortable they’re often my go-tos.
Favourite shoes? Heels or sneakers?
It’s close….but I’d probably have to say sneakers (they’re much comfier!)
When working out, what clothing do you feel most comfortable in and why?
I always go for a pair of high waisted leggings, without a doubt. I hate having to pull leggings up part way through a workout and they always feel so much more flattering! Then anything that’s comfortable, with soft fabric and looks good (I’m sure you are 5 times more motivated when you wear activewear you love!)
If you are not wearing sports kit, what would you be wearing?
Anything denim; ripped jeans and a t-shirt mostly.
Favourite post-training meal?
Probably some salmon with sweet and halloumi fritters, and green veg (cavolo nero, samphire & broccoli are my favourites at the moment). If I’m in a hurry: toast and marmite (!) or avocado and eggs on toast wins.
What is your favourite type of training?
I do an eclectic mix of exercise, usually incorporating gymnastics, barbell lifts, high intensity intervals/crossfit and yoga, as well as hikes, paddle boarding – whatever I can!
Weightlifting or yoga?
Favourite training spot...
Anywhere by water.
What’s the plan now? You recently told us you have a one-way ticket to Australia…
The plan is…..there is no plan! I am generally a very organised person, but recently I have realised that it often doesn’t matter what you plan for because things can change at the drop of a hat (the best laid plans of mice and men….).
I’ve always wanted to go to Australia and now seems like the perfect time for a change, and to just do what I really want, so I’ve booked a one way ticket to Oz, accommodation for a week when I arrive and then the rest is to be confirmed…….
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was 7, I wanted to be a farmer and an artist – I used to draw out a plan of my farm and name all the animals I would have…..things have changed a bit since then (though I’d always love a pet pig!)
The biggest challenge in your life has been…
2016! I had a huge amount of change, from stress and redundancies at work to the challenging breakdown of a long term relationship. It was an extremely testing time but I learnt a lot about others and probably learnt more in those months about myself, than I have for years!
What is your motto?
‘This too shall pass’ – whether it’s good or bad, nothing lasts forever so either make the most of it, or know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Who is your inspiration?
I have so many inspiring people around me, my family especially - at this moment my dad and my sister have helped a lot with my outlook on life, they always encourage me to keep learning, be aware and stay positive.
Tell us something we don’t know about you
I can sleep pretty much anywhere, any time – it’s a rare skill!
What is your top recommendation for other #FlyberyWomen?
Find exercise (and a lifestyle) you enjoy – life is too short not to! There are SO MANY options now when it comes to keeping fit and healthy, it shouldn’t be a chore – find the ones that work, they don’t have to conform with other people’s ideals – every body is different so listen to yours, figure it out, just do you.
Who on Instagram should we be following?
@Shona_virtue for sound advice regarding fitness & being real, @the_Southern_yogi for yoga goals and inspiration and @gypsea_lust for a dose of wanderlust.