One of my biggest and proudest achievements of 2018 was joining a burlesque class. I’d always wanted to try burlesque – I absolutely love movies like Moulin Rouge and Burlesque – but can’t say I’m a very good dancer.

I’d been searching for a local burlesque class for so long and must have liked my current class – myBurlesque, which takes place in Milton Keynes – a good while ago. One evening I was telling a friend about my desire to start and it popped up on my Facebook that they had spaces for their class, almost minutes after the conversation I’d had. That seemed like a sign to me!

So I signed up back in September and haven’t looked back since. Despite being so nervous, I gained confidence almost instantly and have even gone on to do a show – in front of actual people since then.

I can’t see myself ever giving up burlesque and enjoy the classes so much, so I thought I’d do a blog post about why you should try a burlesque class too.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Fitness | 5 reasons to try Burlesque | Burlesque

IT HELPS YOU KEEP FIT
Yes, an obvious point, I know, but a burlesque class is one of those classes that constitute as exercise without even feeling like it. It burns calories, helps me hit my step count and even though much of the class is spent learning new moves and putting them together, there is, of course, a warm-up at the start. It’s obviously not the most rigorous exercise class – but it’s a pretty damn fun one!

YOU MEET SO MANY GREAT PEOPLE
I’ve met so many lovely ladies through burlesque – there’s nothing quite like getting to know someone whilst learning how to do a striptease or burlesque routine. In my class, there’s a real mix of people and we do things outside of class too, like go to shows and such. We also just had a mini Christmas social with games, drinks and nibbles which is nice. I never thought I’d meet so many lovely people through such a unique thing.

IT’S A HUGE CONFIDENCE BOOST
I can’t even begin to explain how much confidence it’s given me. I don’t have any rhythm and I can’t dance for sh*t, but since starting burlesque, I can move my body in ways I didn’t even think possible. I don’t even mean in a sexy way, all of a sudden I can move my hips in a figure of eight or just move to the beat better and it’s all thanks to this class.

YOU CAN BE ANY SHAPE OR SIZE
Starting burlesque has also taught me to love my body more – especially my curves. I used to wish to be thinner and to be more toned but – without wanting to offend anyone here – with burlesque, bigger is actually better in a way. No matter what shape you are, everyone always looks amazing in a corset for example. So if you’re struggling to love your body lately? Head to a burlesque class to really embrace it.

IT CAN LEAD TO SO MANY GREAT THINGS
At first, I definitely thought burlesque was just a fun class to try. Then I did a show. Then I ended up somehow owning a whole bag of corsets, long sleeved gloves, feather boas and other burlesque-related attire. There are even burlesque related tests/performances you can take/do to be a certified dancer (or something along those lines. I’m not sure what exactly but I know some ladies in my class did something similar and passed). At the moment, it’s a hobby I really enjoy but I don’t doubt that one day it could lead to further performances, lifestyle choices or perhaps even performance groups! The opportunities are endless: but they’re so much fun.

I dance with myBurlesque (in Milton Keynes, if you’re local), which is taught by an ever so lovely and down to earth lady called Micaela, who really makes everyone feel welcome and at ease. However, there are also routines you can watch and try on Youtube.

Will you try burlesque? Let me know!

Follow:

Even though we have warmer weather now, not everyone has the confidence, motivation or even time to actually go outside for a run or drag their ass to a gym. Therefore, home workouts are the answer.

Due to modern technology, we can have entire HIIT sessions in the comfort for our own living rooms if we like. Sure, you miss out on the vibe of a packed exercise class (but who wants that anyway) but you save a hell of a lot of money. Yoga mats and weights aren’t even necessary (but do help – places like TK Maxx and Primark have these cheap).

Here are some workouts you can get your sweat on to – without even leaving the comfort of your own home.

JUST DANCE
Guess what = you don’t need a Nintendo Wii to play Just Dance! It turns out pretty much all the songs/dances are on Youtube which I’ve discovered recently. I save all my favourite dances onto a playlist (Nick Jonas’ Teacher and Meghan Trainor’s Me Too are must haves) then simply put it on shuffle. I’ve usually passed an hour this way and burned enough calories that I would have in any exercise class without even realizing it. Plus dancing is fun.

YOGA
Technically you don’t even need any technology (so no payment for internet!) to enjoy a yoga session if you’ve already practised a few moves anyway. Just light a few candles and you’re sorted. I always like to do a yoga class in the evening, most especially on weekends. It might not seem like you’re having a proper intense workout but it’s great for toning and strength – as well as relaxation.

APPS
There are so many apps that can help with working out. I personally love Zombies, Run and Fitbit, but neither of these are particularly suitable for this post as you need to leave the house ideally to use these), but there are tons more I adore. The 30 Day Squats Challenge will give you an ass men will cry for (and also includes ‘sister’ challenges to target other areas like abs, arms and general fitness), Sworkit is perfect for even when you just have ten minutes to workout, and, finally, PEAR – Personal Fitness Coach – which is like having a personal trainer in your pocket.

POUNDFIT
I know I go on about Pound Fitness a lot, but it really is one to try. All you need is a pair of Ripstix and one of their DVD’s. Alternatively, if you’re really skint, use actual drum sticks and watch a class on Youtube. The Ripstix are a great addition if you’re really looking to tone your arms, but generally, you’ll be squatting a lot so even without these you’ll get a good workout.

YOUTUBE IN GENERAL
You can find absolutely anything on Youtube. Whatever you’re looking to tone or get out of a workout, there’s bound to be a video for it. My favourite channels personally are Blogilates (subscribe to Cassey’s website too for bonus content like workout plans and calendars), BodyRock (some equipment needed for some videos but at-home alternatives suggested) and Yoga with Adriene (which is a bit more specific but still a great workout!).

So, there we have it. If it’s raining outside, you’re too skint for a gym membership or even if you just have five minutes aside in your day whilst dinner is cooking, you really have no excuse to not try to get into shape (or be a little more healthy) this summer.

Follow:

Another day, another nutritional range review – after all, who doesn’t like the sound of a quick fix to get healthy and tone up?

When the opportunity came up to review the Nutribuddy range, I jumped at the chance. I was sent the breakfast bundle (consisting of a breakfast flavour powder, instant porridge and a shaker, as well as add on’s chia seeds, coconut flakes and flaxseeds), but what really drew me in was the fact that that all the products are entirely vegan (as well as vegetarian – obvs – gluten-free, soy-free, lactose-free and sugar-free!).

In actual fact, at first I didn’t even realize it was an aid for weight loss – I was intrigued by the fact that it was all vegan and, for a long time, I’d been struggling to think of more vegan breakfast products. I struggled with breakfast as it is when I was eating meat, so trying to find healthy vegan options in the morning when, as a whole I’m not a big fan of breakfast, was something I’d struggled with.

Therefore, I chose to review this product for the sure fact that I could replace my boring go-to breakfast of avocado on toast.

But more about the product.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Health | Fitness | Nutrition | Nutribuddy

WHO ARE NUTRIBUDDY?
As a company, Nutribuddy create their products to fit three core values:

Safe | When buying any health products – it’s vital to know what you’re buying is safe. We always have safety at the forefront of our minds when developing any new products. Despite our ‘safety first’ ethos we have still managed to develop some of the most effective products on the market with clinical studies to back up the effectiveness of the core ingredients.

Healthy | We believe health products should actually be healthy! We ensure all our products contain healthy, natural ingredients and we don’t use any unnecessary bulking agents, fillers and other unnecessary added ingredients, to ensure our products are pure and healthy. We only use natural flavourings. All our products are Non-GMO and our whey protein comes from grass-fed cows.
Effective | The Nutribuddy team have spent countless hours formulating the Nutribuddy products to make sure they really work! All our products are based on real science and where applicable the key ingredients have robust clinical evidence to back up their effectiveness as well as safety. To view real Nutribuddy results, visit our testimonials page.
I love these core values, and the testimonials page is extremely motivational – it’s so nice to see physical photos of actual customers and the results they have achieved by using Nutribuddy’s products.
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Health | Fitness | Nutrition | Nutribuddy
WHAT’S IN THE PRODUCTS?
The Nutribuddy Breakfast contains organic gluten-free oats, organic flaxseeds, organic chia seeds, organic sesame seeds, organic desiccated coconut, vanilla flavour and stevia, whereas the instant porridge includes just gluten-free instant oats, flaxseeds and stevia – so all good stuff!
HOW I GOT ON
I started my breakfast kit not long after returning home from Mexico as a boost to get me back onto my fitness regime (it turns out getting in a new relationship can make you super lazy). Mostly, I relied on the breakfast blend, simply because it was so easy to put together and drink on the go. You simply measure out three scoops (using the included scoop spoon of which I do not know the correct name of!) of the organic oats, seeds and coconut and 300ml of milk or a milk substitute, pour it all into the shaker and, well, shake. The taste is delicious and it kind of tastes like a sweet but light milkshake. This surprised me, as I’d tried oats in the past and found them RANK. It was ideal for on the go though and even when I knew I was staying at my boyfriends house, I’d measure out the power into the shaker (or a small container) in advance so that I could just add milk at his – so it was really easy.
I also enjoyed the porridge, but one thing I will say is that the suggested number of scoops to use doesn’t result in much porridge and certainly not enough to fill you up. I mean maybe that’s the point, as in to eat less, but I tended to add an extra scoop or two as I felt this stopped unnecessary snacking later in the day. I also added the flaxseeds and coconut shavings on a few occasions and some fruit, which resulted in me finally being able to put together a super cute oat bowl that was totally Instagram worthy. I’m also not a huge fan of porridge normally, but this porridge was delicious.
Day to day, I actually didn’t feel a huge change. I didn’t feel like I had extra energy or that my hunger was quenched, but in a typical placebo effect, the fact that I was choosing a healthy breakfast over anything else did make me feel more upbeat and like I was doing a job.
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Health | Fitness | Nutrition | Nutribuddy
CONCLUSION
Although I didn’t feel different day by day, I actually did notice a difference after a week or so of using the breakfast kit. I looked a little less bloated but physically I couldn’t see that I had lost any weight. HOWEVER. After weighing myself at my Nan’s, I realized I had lost weight. 
When I finished Veganuary and spent a week binge watching unhealthy food before slowly easing myself back into going vegan, I weighed myself and I had put on weight. Simply by going from full vegan to full not vegan, I put on just over half a stone. 
When I weighed myself after a week or so of using these products, I had lost around about this amount and found my weight exactly the same as it was the day I stopped being vegan. Therefore, I had lost the weight I had gained since going back to eating meat, which was reassuring.
It’s interesting that that’s what the scales said, although I didn’t physically see a huge difference. However, I guess there is that old age debate; some people believe you shouldn’t listen to the scales and just concentrate on how you look and feel, but, on the other hand, your physical weight fluctuates due to bloating and water weight etc, so it’s hard to deny what the scales say.
I did try and ease back into my fitness regime during this time too, albeit very slowly. I probably managed one workout a week.
So, in conclusion, I do believe it worked – alongside a few work outs – but not in the way that other nutritional ranges had for me. I didn’t feel any different, but it was clear to see that I did lose some weight.
Because of this, I would likely try this product again, especially as I believe it is worth the price: for £35.98 you can get the full breakfast kit (with the add on flax seeds, chia seeds and coconut shavings), for a 14 day supply. I do believe you get enough in the kit to last you three weeks or perhaps even a full month though.
There’s also a three month shipment plan which saves you 30% and works out to £21.59 a month – however, if you cancelled after three months I’d strongly suggest you’d be left with enough ‘kit’ for five or six months!
What do you think? Would you give Nutribuddy a go? Let me know!
You can also find me on
*Please note, although I received this product free in exchange for a review, all opinions are entirely my own.
Follow:

I know I already wrote a brief post about Pound Fitness and my experience of taking a class but, if I’m honest, I didn’t really feel that post was anything more than a ramble about how much fun I found the class.

I’ve been back since and have even turned my sister into a fan of this quirky fitness class, so thought I’d share some reasons to why you should try it too.

Pound Fitness is a cardio workout with simulated drumming, which sounds like an odd mixture but works pretty damn well. In a class, you are given a pair of Ripstix (neon green lightly weighted plastic drumsticks), which you use to drum the floor (or tap together in the air) during the upbeat workout, which ranges from stretches, squats and various cardio moves.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | 5 reasons to try Pound Fit | Pound Fit | Pound Fitness | Fitness

IT’S A GREAT WORKOUT
To say Pound Fit is a great workout is almost understatement. It’s basis is cardio – but it really is an all over workout. When I heard it’s inspired by drumming. I figured maybe it would only give my arms a workout. I was wrong. There’s a lot of squatting and there’s also some ab inspired floor moves too. So, it works out the whole body and one hour of Pound Fit can burn up to 900 calories!

THE INSPIRATION BEHIND POUND FITNESS IS AWESOME
One of the founders, Cristina Peerenboom, broke her drum stool and, determined to still practice, spent an hour squatting to do so. The following morning she woke up with aching abs and legs and thus the idea was born into a unique workout.

YOU FEEL LIKE A TOTAL ROCKSTAR TAKING PART
You really do. Even though it doesn’t turn you into a drummer, taking part in simulated drumming along to the soundtrack of bands like Paramore or Fall Out Boy is a really great feeling, especially when you have a lot of anger or stress to work out. And, although I read somewhere that it won’t help you improve your drumming, I kind of feel like it has helped me improve my rhythm and get used to the concept of drumming.

THERE’S A REAL SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Each class is really laid back but upbeat, and the hour workout is filled with giggles and points where you sing along. Some exercise classes I go to and I feel not necessarily judged, but not accepted as much, or I feel bad not being as good as others. This isn’t like that at all. It’s so laid back, and there’s a totally awesome online community too. It’s not just a workout class. The website has a blog which shares tips, playlists, interviews with badass women and recipes, and there’s a really awesome clothing range that can be purchased too.

…BUT YOU CAN ALSO DO IT AT HOME
If there’s not a class near you (it’s not massively popular in the UK yet – although there are lots of opportunities to become a trainer!), you can order DVD’s to take part. There’s a Rockout Results System for £72.09 (really random 9p there but that’s the conversion from US dollars!), which includes five DVDs, a balance guide and seven day kickstart, a Poundoff calendar and workout journal, interval challenges, a ‘live’ class, a 101 tutorial and a pair of Ripstix. Perfect for a gift or to save for if you become an addict like me. There’s also a cheaper version, Album 1: Sweat. Sculpt. Rock. This DVD set includes two DVD’s and a pair of Ripstix for £16. Bargain.
SWEAT.
SCULPT.
ROCK.
But essentially, if you’re just after something a bit edgy or different, then this is definitely a fitness class for you!
Would you ever try Pound Fitness? Let me know!
Follow:

I am aware that this is the third fitness related post in a row, but I just wanted to check in and write a quick blog post about how I’ve been getting on with the fitness side of things in the past month.

In my ‘10 achievable resolutions post for 2017‘ last year, I mentioned that in past years I tended to set more general goals such as ‘be more healthy’ and that for 2017, I’d chosen specific ones like how I wanted to take up a new fitness class and go swimming more.
However, as well as those specific goals, I personally decided to continue with the goal of being more healthy and trying to be more fit. This is a goal I’ve tried to work on a little for the past year or so too as I believed I was happy with my body, but felt I wasn’t healthy: I didn’t do a lot of exercise, I ate a lot of junk food etc.
I slowly made progress with little steps – eating more healthy and homemade meals etc – which is good in itself, but I have to admit, I got to a point where I was becoming really self conscious about my weight. Although I wouldn’t say I was massively overweight, I realized I wasn’t thin or healthy either.
I didn’t make a conscious decision to change this though, as I felt I was taking the right approach. I don’t believe in dieting and I knew that by aiming to be more fit and healthy and by taking on some more healthy lifestyle choices, in the long run it would benefit me.
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fitness | Fitness in January | New Year's Resolutions
Anyway, in January, I decided to get a bit more serious (or fun) about it and mix it up it a bit. Rather than just consciously choosing to eat a healthy meal sometimes and working out when I felt like it (like I had done in previous years), this year/for 2017 I decided to genuinely begin to eat more healthy and try new exercise classes.
Although I decided I wasn’t going to be hard on myself, I made a plan to mix it up so I do at least one exercise class each week (and a different one each week, if possible) as long as money allowed, try and walk more (even if it means pacing around my living room to hit my step goal most days of the week) and, again, generally eat more healthy. 
This month, I feel I’ve done particularly well.
The healthy eating part has been super easy what with taking on Veganuary of course. I’ve been eating a lot more vegetables and, er, lots of potatoes, which doesn’t seem like a big difference but has really evened out my meals. I’ve gone from eating barely any vegetables at all to having them with nearly every meal for a start.
As for the fitness side of things, I’ve also been pleased with my progress. I’ve taken on a new fitness class each week, and here is a general look at what I’ve been up to:
WEEK ONE
My sister and I saw in the New Year (sort of – we’d planned the walk for January 1st but had to reschedule when it p*ssed down with rain!) with a long walk up Dunstable Downs. It was a beautiful fresh and frosty day – we took the dogs (and my neice of course), had a long gossip and treated ourselves to a delicious hot chocolate with soya milk (for me) and coffee (for her) afterwards at the cafe overlooking the scenery. We also flew a kite! This week, I also finally tried Pound Fitness. I absolutely loved this, but typically it’s the one class I’ve been unable to find the time to return to so far!
WEEK TWO
This week I stuck to the one fitness class (which was my original plan all along, but I actually accidentally spent some of the month doing two fitness classes per week instead of one!) as I was headed to Centreparcs that weekend and knew (well hoped) we would do a lot of walking there. This week, I chose Pole Fitness, which is conveniently pretty much across the road from me. I’ve actually done pole classes before and took three or four lessons last year which was fun, but this one nearby made much more sense to me, as I won’t be wasting petrol money to get there and can’t cancel due to traffic or anything like that. It was really fun – the class was small and intimate so we got a lot of one-on-one time, but my god the bruises I developed afterwards were worrying!
At Centreparcs, we didn’t do any specific walking (I’d envisioned long, relaxing walks through the woods when instead we spent a lot of time partying), but did do a lot of walking since the pool was about a fifteen minute walk away. We didn’t do a lot of swimming either, but with lots of time spent on the rapids and waterslides (then me almost falling asleep hungover going round and round the lazy river on the last day), I’m still counting it as a win.
Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Fitness | Fitness in January | New Year's Resolutions
WEEK THREE
Last week, I met my sister for a Zumba class with Fitness Milton Keynes, as I had some vouchers from the MK Blogger Network Christmas Party. This was super fun and the lady who ran it was so friendly and energetic – I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to try a Zumba class either! I’m in two minds about taking this class again though. I absolutely loved it, but being in Newport Pagnell, it’s a little out of my way, especially as I’ve just joined my local gym which also runs Zumba classes. My sister really enjoyed it too though, so I think I’ll probably look into attending the class maybe once a month when my sister does. 
I also did another Pole Fitness class and have pretty much given in to the fact that I’ll likely be continuing this on a weekly basis too, as I enjoyed it so much! I feel like I’m really learning and acing some of the moves this time around.
WEEK FOUR
Finally, this week, I took another Pole Fitness class. I had hoped to take up another class this week with my local gym, but just haven’t had the time. Instead, I’ve tried to make it up by trying to hit my 10,000 step count more this week (so far, I’ve nailed it on three days, which is impressive as a couple of those days saw me working from home and not even leaving the house), and working out at home (I started the 30 Day Squat Challenge, god help me!).
So, although I’m not pushing myself to work out every single day, I feel like for the month of January, I have made some really good progress so far. I feel like I’ve incorporated enough fitness changes in my life so that they can be realistic lifestyle changes in the long run – I feel that there’s a good chance I can stick to doing at least one exercise class per week and trying to hit my step count as much as I can.
Keeping this long term and seeing this progress as a lifestyle change rather than a new year fitness regime which sees me pushing too hard and running out of motivation far too soon has really helped me stay on top of keeping fit this month and I really hope it continues.
I also believe joining the gym may help. I didn’t plan to join a gym, but my local gym has a deal on where it is cheaper at the moment up until March, so I figured it would be a good time to try it out. It’s a gym I hadn’t been to until now and it’s really nice with a little coffee shop area. The classes are more varied (although they do book up quickly), and membership includes entry to the swimming pool too which is nice as I want to start swimming more this year too.
I may not keep my membership after March – this is something I’m going to see about – but in the meantime, I’m really enjoying taking part in the classes on offer. Next week, I am already booked into yoga (straight after Pole Fitness!) and Zumba. I’ll be booking another Pound Fitness class next week too.
So overall I feel like it’s been a realistic success in January, and I really hope I can keep it up!
How are you getting on with your fitness goals, if you have any? Let me know with a comment!
You can also find me on

Follow: