Every week in the Soul Care series I share some favourites, but the list for fitness was a lot longer than what appeared. I had to make a value judgment of what would be most relevant to the topics addressed in the post, and I left the rest behind. However, I thought it would make a good stand-alone post if you are curious to know more things that I like, even if I’m no expert so it’s a case of personal preference the same as what any other person in your life that isn’t an expert likes.
In a way, I think there is some strength in the opinion of the uninitiated of the field because it’s often really intimidating to approach things suggested by people who look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m a mid-size woman with legs like steel and unwanted love handles, so I couldn’t be any more girl-next-door if I tried (although, ironically, the woman who lives next door to me must be a fitness instructor or something like that).
Activewear: Girlfriend Collective
As a big proponent of Health at Every Size, I’m a big fan of this ethically-made activewear brand,
Girlfriend Collective. They have inclusive sizing from XXS to 6XL and a diverse range of women representing them in their advertising. They also recycle their already sustainably made items for a small handling fee. Each pair of leggings uses 25 water bottle in the production of the material, but they also partner up with ECONYL® to clean the oceans. The environment is not all they care about, though, as they have an ethical supply chain providing their workers in Vietnam with a living wage, fair working hours and good working conditions. Girlfriend Collective are stocked in a few places in the UK (including online options for those far from brick and mortar stockists who don’t want to deal with the shipping costs from the US). Pictured the Paloma Bra in Midnight, which is such a favourite with everyone it’s the item everyone brings up first when talking about Girlfriend Collective, and how I was first introduced to the brand (my battle with sports bra on the High Street is, perhaps, a topic for another time).
This was a present, mistakenly bought under the false advertisement of it as a sustainable material by my parents who ask me if I want anything and what before they buy me a present. In fact, it’s not that it is an unsustainable material, as the standard for making Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) has improved dramatically, and even before that it was free of PVC and phthalates, so a better option than a lot of what is found on the high street. It’s just that it isn’t as ethical as other options on the market, like my highly coveted CorkYogis cork mat). It was, however, a revelation for the comfort of using it even with my painful arthritic joints. It really doesn’t slip and it’s high and bouncy enough the only thing that hurts is my back if put under pressure. It’s good for all sorts of mat-based exercise, and it’s made by a company in the North East of England so I feel like I have contributed to the local economy even if it’s local on a national level since I’m a Londoner. I felt the Proworks mat deserved a mention even with the slightly lower standard of sustainability, especially since the perfectionism around ethical consumerism can become really toxic and I don’t want to self-censor and perpetuate that. They have also been really good in their customer service, including granting me the warranty even if I opened the present after the time to register it has expired…not that I needed it, but it was good to see a company on the side of the consumer instead of sticking to the letter of the law. I’m not sure how big they are as a business, but in dealing with them it definitely felt like dealing with a small one.
Fitness Studio: FRAME
It’s not that I don’t love Barrecore, because I do, but I have been going to Frame ever since they only had one studio in Shoreditch (I remember Queens Park opening back in 2012), so I have some loyalty to their funky and body-positive ways. Nowadays I’m more likely to show up for workshops than regular classes (that is, I was, pre-lockdown) but their studios feel like home. The staff is welcoming and helpful, non-judgmental and kind when it comes to adapting moves if you’re not at your best. And the reason why they get the mention here is that they have a wider offer of classes than my other option for out-of-the-house workouts (which got a mention in the other post anyway…).
Protein Shake: Purition
I have waged a war against protein shakes until Purition came into my life through a sample box I won in a Twitter competition. The reason why I hate them so much is the disgusting artificial and/or stevia taste they have, but Purition is different. Purition is lovely. You can’t taste the stevia. It’s nutrient-dense and helps me eat enough proteins even as I cut down meat to just one out of three meals a day, especially when it’s hot like these days and I just want to eat strawberries. I have only tried the original series but I want to order a trial of the vegan one to see which of two things that my gut has a hard time tolerating is the easiest one. I did not react to the whey protein in the shakes as much as I have reacted to whey protein (or other sources of lactose) so perhaps it’s within my tolerance levels if that’s all I have, but I feel like the review is a bit incomplete. I have no reason to think the vegan range will impact my view of the brand too much, though, so I’m comfortable with mentioning this and setting the post live.