‘Explosive moves don’t necessarily need a lot of space, just a sturdy floor!’ – here to help with keeping fitness levels up (or raising them higher than ‘nothing’ – your mileage may vary), is fitness blogger Gemma Seager of Lipstick, Lettuce & Lycra.
While Gemma’s blog launched in very different times back in 2008, looking after yourself never goes out of fashion and is more important than ever here in 2020. Read on for insight on self-care, making use of your sofa for workouts, and keeping on top of your mental and physical health when the going gets tough.
What keeps you enthusiastic about the fitness blogging sphere?
The fitness blogging sphere is so varied and I find it fascinating how many different angles people can take on one topic. But what really keeps me enthusiastic is feedback. When I get a message from someone saying I’ve helped or inspired them to do something they’d never considered before, or made them realise that you don’t have to be a stereotypical ‘fitness’ person to be more active, that really makes me happy.
What’s your favourite thing to post about and why?
This sounds awful but my favourite thing to post about is me! I like to post from my own experience, so I write about products I love, workouts I’ve tried, and things that have helped me along the way. I can’t write about something I haven’t experienced and I think that the thing blogs offer that magazines and other outlets can’t is that personal connection with the author.
How have you had to change your approach and content now that people are self-isolating?
I haven’t really. Because I always write about my own experience and I’m having the same lived experience as many of my readers I’m just writing about how I’m dealing with the situation. Obviously, some of my planned content has changed. There are races I was signed up to that aren’t going ahead so I won’t be reviewing those now! Largely, I’m focusing on the idea of self-care and that exercise should be there to support your physical and mental health, not as some kind of punishment.
What exercises would you recommend people with a high-level of fitness swap in to their routine if they can’t get out to run/swim/cycle?
At home HIIT workouts are everywhere at the moment, so if someone already has a high level of fitness, they are a great thing to take on if you want to do a high-intensity workout. Explosive moves don’t necessarily need a lot of space, just a sturdy floor! I would caution that even if you have a high level of physical fitness it’s important to take care of your mental health, too. A lot of people who spent a lot of time at the gym are finding that their motivation to workout at home is low or non-existent. It’s important not to beat yourself up about it, and maybe schedule just short workout breaks into your day.
What routines are worth trying for those with a low level of fitness who want to start to improve it from home?
Bodyweight strength workouts are ideal for those that want to get started. If you’re starting from the beginning, then you really don’t need to be adding weights early on. I have a few 15-minute bodyweight sessions on my blog, but there are tons of others out there. Look for progressions and regressions, such as starting push ups on your knees before moving to full push ups and focus on keeping your core solid with any exercise.
What household items are great for incorporating into a workout?
If you want to add weight then using tins of beans and water bottles as light weights really works. Personally, I think a sofa or chair is one of the best household workout accessories! You can do tricep dips, elevated pushups or use them as a support for single leg squats. You can also use a pair of tights as an impromptu resistance band for some exercises!
With Mr Motivator making a comeback recently, who are some of your workout heroes from the past?
When I was little, my Mum had a Lizzie Webb aerobics video. She was the TV-AM workout guru in the 80s. I was also a huge fan of the Callan Pickney Callanetics workout in the early 90s; I think it’s where my obsession with core stability has come from.
How do you collaborate with brands, and which kind of brands do you really like working with?
I’m always open to suggestions for different ways to work with brands. I love working with smaller innovative brands, but I also love the opportunity when bigger brands have a budget to really support some creative content.
I prefer to create content that shows how brands can add to your life and support your wellbeing and activity, rather than just straight product reviews. I worked with our local council to promote a borrow a bike scheme, and that was really fun because I could show how I learned to get more confident on the bike and how it changed my everyday life. I’ve also worked on some great campaigns with footwear and vitamin brands to create content about staying active and supporting your health that included the brand’s aims as part of a wider health and activity message.
For PRs looking to work with you and your blog/website, how would you prefer they approach you and with what kind of content?
I’m always open to emails, I find them easier to keep up with and track than contact on social media. I don’t use Twitter much, so I’m likely to miss anything there, but an Instagram message is fine, too! I’m always open to products to review, and I often post a monthly round-up of things I’ve tried and loved, which has better reach than a single product post. I love it when brands are really clear about their message, budget and what sort of content they are looking for when they approach me so that there’s no confusion!
What other blogs are you checking out regularly during lockdown?
I’m spending a lot of time on Instagram during lockdown as I find it’s a lot more positive than Facebook and I’m trying to stay upbeat! I read a lot of the blogs on the Fitness Blogger Top 10, especially The Tales of Annie Bean and Fat Girls’ Guide to Running. I also like to read Cakes Vs Scales and Girls Gone Strong.