I have no idea why, but whilst I was lying in bed feeling sorry for myself (thanks to the flu), I felt an overwhelming need to write this blog post. I love it when that happens, the need to write, to be creative, it’s not even like I’m thinking it, it’s like I’m just a tool to write it all down, whatever the reason, it’s necessary that right this second, I put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) and get these words down.

You may already know this, but my name is Hannah Cluley and I have a chronic knee injury. What does that mean? In my particular case, it means that the tear to my meniscus (or tears pl. should I say) won’t heal, ever. At least not fully anyway, I won’t ever have a normal and healthy meniscus again. If you’re sciencey, this is an article that addresses degenerative menisci (what I have though, is usually found in people of 60+, so mine is early onset). Anyway, the general consensus is, for the time being, after two surgeries (the first to repair my meniscus, which failed), the second to remove half of it and repair the rest (probably won’t work but worth a shot!), is that my mensical health will never be what it should be. What does this mean? I am pretty lucky at the moment, at 8 months post partial meniscectomy and meniscal repair, I have very little pain in my day-to-day life, apart from the degenerative meniscus (my lateral meniscus in my right knee for anyone curious), my knee is in good health, has full range and mobility, and I can do everyday things pretty unscathed.

I used to be a runner (100m and 200m sprinter) and netballer at school. I loved netball, like genuinely loved it! I was never going to get to a super league, or be a professional in either sport, but I really enjoyed both. Naturally I’d say I was pretty athletic growing up, perhaps a bit lazy, but I carried on playing netball until 2015 before my first surgery, and whilst I didn’t carry on with the running, I liked to go for a jog every now and then. In 2015 I started training and going to the gym fairly regularly, and after my first knee operation and post-op recovery, I did plyometric circuit training regularly. However since knee op number 2, and the evidence that my meniscus probably isn’t going to heal, I’ve been warned by my surgeon not to run or do high impact training, so sayonara netball! I tend to play it down, but the premise of not being able to play netball again, not being able to run and catch that ball ever again, is very very shit. I think a fair few people in my position would probably ignore the doctor’s orders and carry on, people do that all the time. But I feel like I can’t fuck about with my knee. Like… it’s my KNEE. It carries me everywhere, it’s a madly complicated joint and it is so integral to just living a regular human life. In 40 years, I assume (God willing) I’ll still be here, and I might have grandchildren or maybe even just a dog who deserves for me to be able to walk, play around, be mobile. I also really like to dance, and knees are pretty integral to dancing. So yes, whilst it is rather shite that netball, a sport I love and feel so amazing playing, is off the table, the bigger picture is more important to me. That’s one of the worst things about a chronic injury, not being able to do something you love ever again.

Another sucky thing, is people thinking that you did this to yourself. The first question people ask is, ‘how did you do it?’ Aka ‘What did YOU do to YOURSELF’, actually pal… I didn’t do anything! I was born with mensical cartilage that was degenerative… the word ‘injury’ here is deceptive. I have injured myself before, loads, and I take full responsibility for not warming up properly or wearing inappropriate shoes in those cases, but just being born a certain way, and having to explain that to people, when they ask about an injury that they already have a preconceived idea about, is very irritating, to the point where sometimes I actually just say ‘netball’, which is totally counter intuitive but whatever! My favourite comment on Instagram to date, was someone saying ‘maybe you wouldn’t have been injured if you didn’t workout so much ;)’ as you can imagine, they got a proper telling off!

Being chronically injured, and spending a good portion of the past two years with a knee that’s healing from surgery, learning how to walk again (twice), and being temporarily disabled (if this is any way offensive or politically incorrect I apologise but I can’t think of a better way to say it), you become hyper aware of your body and what it does on a day to day basis. Running up stairs to get something you forgot, taking a big step off a train, jumping up and down when you’re excited or something random… all of these things, you become very aware of and I am always analysing how my various joints and muscles are feeling. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, but, sometimes it does make me anxious. Some kid was aimlessly cycling on the pavement the other day, and I genuinely felt anxious, what if he crashes into me? In reality I probably would have been fine, but had it been 3 months ago? He could have ruined my knee (even more). In case you’re wondering I had a few words with him and he was an arrogant little punk and it confirmed to me that I will one day be that retired person shouting at ‘youths’.

So so far I have listed the negatives. There are other negatives, like when I lock my knee randomly and I get excruciating pain for about 10 seconds, or the fact that I may need a knee replacement fairly soon, but I think I’ve touched on that enough. Let’s get to some positives, because let’s face it, you probably didn’t come here to read about me moaning. I’m not sure if you noticed, but in the second paragraph of this, I used the words ‘I am pretty lucky’, now to some, the words ‘luck’ and ‘chronic knee injury’ might not seem to go together, but I really think they do, for me at least. Having a knee injury has not only made me aware of how incredibly my body is, in terms of healing and coping physically with an imbalance, but also that it could be much, much worse. I still have a leg, I can still walk for an extended period of time, I don’t need a crutch or a stick, I don’t have a limp, I still get to workout every day and stay active. When you’ve been through not walking, and being in pain every time you move your leg a certain way, that is invaluable. I honestly feel like my body is amazing, it can do so much, and it supports me every single second, which we often don’t even think about, but it’s truly a miracle!

Through my knee injury and not being able to workout in the way that I previously would have, I started practicing yoga, and have since fallen in love with it, and am now planning on doing my yoga teacher training starting in a few weeks. I am also currently doing a Personal Trainer course and will be qualified very soon. So despite all of the above bad things, my life has actually changed so much and I think a lot of it has to do with my mental attitude and how it’s evolved because of my injury. I am not sure I would be the person I am right this second if I hadn’t gone through what I have gone through, and that makes all the negatives seem really minute and unimportant. The chronic injury has already been a catalyst to so many amazing things, and it has also made me more aware of time, it’s made me more spontaneous, I rely a lot less on what the future holds because I genuinely have no clue what will happen in one year’s time, as because I have no clue and also zero control, I am just going with the flow and not being scared of taking leaps of faith that I may never have done before. I also like to this with both this blog and my Instagram account @hannahrosefit, I have been able to help others in a way I never would have been able to. Other people with injuries or who are having surgery can see that hey! this random girl in London is still staying fit, active and healthy despite having a messed up knee… maybe my knee/hip/ankle/shoulder injury isn’t so bad after all, if she can… I can too! And that is above all one of the best things to have come from my injury, helping others see that an injury isn’t a life sentence, it’s just something we learn to live with and actually may grow to appreciate! And how bloody marvellous is that?!

One thing I get a lot of comments\questions about in my general day to day life, is how I balance my health and fitness goals with having a full time job. Whilst I am health and fitness blogger, by day I work a 9-6 office job in central London, I spend about 8 hours a day sat at a computer, I don’t often take a lunch break, it takes me an hour for me to commute to work, yet I still find the time to go to the gym, go to a yoga class, and stay on top of my diet. I thought I’d share some tips on how to balance a full time job and accomplishing your fitness goals.

Plan your workouts

Know exactly what you’re going to do each week, and when. Will you before or after work, or during your lunch break? I go to a Fitness First gym in central London, and I always without fail go before work. This doesn’t mean that I go every day, but when I do go to the gym on a week (non-weekend) day, it will be before work. Why?The gym is less busy, I avoid rush hour on the tube (the gym is near my work), and it gets it done. 6am Hannah hasn’t had any time in the day to think up excuses as to why I don’t want to work out, this doesn’t usually happen anyway anymore as I enjoy going to the gym, but it isn’t always the case! Going in the morning also means I get to do things in the evenings if I want to. And whilst it means getting up that bit earlier, 6am doesn’t feel so bad when you’ve done it for a few weeks. However, I know some people prefer going to the gym after work, or even at lunch time, find what works for you and then go with that.

When it comes to planning my workouts, I set aside some time every Sunday to work out (ha, pun not intended!) what workouts and gym classes I will be doing that week, and so I can make my calendar as streamlined as possible so that every evening I go to bed knowing exactly what I’ll be doing the next day, both in terms of type of workout (leg day or yoga?) but also what exactly I’ll be doing in that workout if it’s not a class (for example if it’s back and biceps day I’ll have a file on my phone with all the exercises, reps and sets written down). For example this is the type of thing that I write down in a note book every Sunday:

Monday – Rehab for my knee

Tuesday – Yoga class

Wednesday – Yoga class

Thursday – Chest and Tris

Friday – Rehab for my knee & shoulders

Saturday – Yoga at home & rest

Sunday – Back and Bis

I also always pack my bag the night before if I’m going to the gym or doing a workout the next morning, so I can literally just get up and go.

Food Prep

I food prep big time. Usually on a Saturday afternoon or on a Sunday I will head to the supermarket and do a big food shop with everything I’m going to need for that week. I try not to spend much money during the week on food, unless I’m going out to eat, so I buy everything that I need. I’ll have in a my head all the meals that I’ll be cooking, for lunches I will have done a batch cook on the Sunday or perhaps the Monday evening, and have the same thing for lunch every day of that week, and then in the evenings I tend to have something that’s quick to make, but that’s healthy, whether I’ve cooked a batch of mixed veg, and some quinoa, and then have some fish with it, or whether it’s a chilli that I’ve made in a batch and then I add some peas and sweet potato fries, I never spend too long in the kitchen at home because my free time is precious and like many of us in London I have a really small kitchen! Also, the earliest I ever get home is about 7pm and I never want to eat too late! If you have everything prepped on the weekend for the coming week, it’s a lot less likely you’ll end up snacking and eating something you’ll wish you hadn’t later on. And if you think you’ll still be inclined to buy food during the working day, just don’t take money/your card to work! That way you literally can’t buy anything, and it might help you save some money too.

Think of Your Workouts Like Meetings

Pretend your workouts or gym classes are really important meetings with yourself. You wouldn’t bail on a work meeting, or even meeting up for brunch with a friend, so start thinking of your workouts as you time that needs to happen and can’t be cancelled. That way you’re more likely to stick to them.

Integrate Your Social and Fitness Lives

We all love getting our heads down in the gym and nailing that workout, but you could also make some of your weekly workouts a social activity. A lot of yoga classes that I go to are with friends, you go along, do the workout, and then after catch up over a coffee or some food. I really like doing this because that way it doubles up, and you may introduce your friend to a new class or workout that they’ve not done before, or vice versa! There are loads of fitness events now in London (and elsewhere) where you go along, do the workout, but also socialise afterwards, you could go along with a friend for something a bit different, or you could even go along by yourself and make some new friends!

Allow Rest Time

Our lives are so jam packed these days that’s it’s really easy to over do it. I make sure that I have at least one rest day every week, sometimes even more than that (I sometimes have an entire rest week!), I will still be lightly active on these days, like going for a walk or doing some light yoga/stretching at home, but it’s so important that we let our bodies rest, as this is actually when our cells repair and regenerate themselves and we get fitter and stronger. The same goes for sleep. Try and aim for 8 hours of sleep every night, trust me you will feel so much better, and you’re a lot less likely to get ill.

Make Sure There is a Balance

So the whole point of this post is to help you strike a balance between your work and fitness goals, but it’s also important to make sure you balance everything in your life, this can be really tricky and it can seem a bit daunting but trust me it’s possible, and sometimes one thing may have to take a back seat for a while. If you’ve got a really important project going on at work and you’re working longer hours than usual, then maybe you’ll have to reassess your fitness goals taking that into consideration to make sure they’re realistic for the situation.

I hope this is helpful guys! Please leave a comment if you have any comments or questions 🙂

 

It’s time to share with you some more of the amazing products I’ve discovered over the last month!

Happy + Co Home Wear Collection

I have updated my dining experience at home with these absolutely beautiful napkins from Happy & Co, I think the design is so modern and unusual. The company itself not only do table linen, but they also make bedding, cushions, furniture and more. They also have created the Happy + Co Farm in Cambodia, which was built to help provide jobs and produce for locals in the area. 10% of every product sold from Happy + Co goes into this farm, which I think is absolutely amazing and makes my heart a little fuzzy and warm!

Check out all their stuff here: http://happyandco.com/

And their gorgeous IG here

Skins GB Compression Wear

I was recently asked to review Skins GB Compression wear, which is clothing that compresses your muscles and can improve your blood flow and reduct your chance of injury whilst wearing it when you exercise. I absolutely love the pieces I got to try and their stuff is super comfortable! And if it could help reduce my chances of being any more injured, I will take it!

Check out their page here: http://www.flybery.com/search/skins/

Ugly Drinks

I have a big box of these fizzy sweetener free drinks at work that I am making my way through veeerrryyy quickly. Yep you heard, sweetener free! They’re infused with natural fruit flavourings and that’s pretty much it! I love them when I want something a bit different to just water, and I also think they’d be a great mixer with gin or vodka for a night out! Click here for their website.

Made By Fressko Flask

I finally got my hands on one of these flasks and I have been after one for ages! They’re beautiful, simple, easy to clean (the strainer pops out so you can wash it separately) and they can be used for either hot or cold drinks, peerrfect!

Physio Ball

Ok so this may seem totally random but I am loving my spikey physio ball these days! Great for getting knots out of my back, shoulders, neck, calves etc. I use mine at work whilst I am sitting and it really helps relieve some of that tension we seem to build up! Get these ones from Amazon here.

Since deciding to cut out all animal products I have tried a few recipes for vegan pancakes, and I have finally found the perfect recipe! Not only that, they’re protein pancakes! After I got my hands on Nutristrength’s Pea Cocoa Protein Powder, I decided to give them a whirl and they came out SO GOOD.

Here’s the recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Nutristrength Pea Protein
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup soy yoghurt
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1 table spoon vanilla bean paste
  • Coconut oil for the pan (I used Nutristrength coconut oil)

Method:

  1. Mix  protein powder, ground almonds, and baking powder together in a bowl.
  2. Next, add the milk, yoghurt, banana and vanilla extract to your blender and blend together.
  3. Add the dry mixture to the wet blended mixture and stir together until there are no more bumps.
  4. Heat a medium sized frying pan over a low to medium heat, and add a small amount of coconut oil to the pan.
  5. Spoon a table spoon of mixture into the centre of the pan. As the texture is different to normal pancakes, it may not bubble as usual, and in my experience they take a lot longer than regular pancakes, so wait until the mixture is set and be careful when flipping!
  6. Serve them up with your favourite toppings, my go to is almond butter, pomegranate seeds, banana and strawberries!

I am so so glad that I have found a recipe that works! And Nutristrength’s products so far have been amazing, I love that non-dairy and vegan supplements are becoming more easily available for us! Nutristrength is now available in Planet Organic, Wholefoods and As Nature Intended, which is awesome! If you want to check out more of their products and what their philosophy is all about, check out their website.

Let me know if you try the recipe, would love to know what you think! xo

Ah Christmas, the time when we indulge, eat all of the food and relax and enjoy some well earned downtime with our close ones. However, after this indulgence, we all decide to buckle up and prepare for the new year and the proverbial ‘new you’. It’s a lot of pressure to put on one’s self, all the resolutions, the huge changes, the goals that are probably not all that attainable. Whilst wanting to make a change is important and amazing, it is also best to do so in a way that won’t make you hate yourself if you fail, and in a way that means you actually won’t fail at all. Here are some tips on getting back on track and how to set goals for the new year.


Stay Active over the Holidays

You don’t have to do a HIIT session every morning, but you could very easily go for a family walk, or do a yoga video in your sitting room (like I did this morning with my mum and aunt). This way, you’re keeping your body moving, but your not actually doing anything too strenuous. The hardest bit in this scenario is just starting. In my opinion the best way is to just do it. Get it done. Don’t procrastinate.

Turn all the Leftovers into Healthy Eats

All that leftover turkey, potatoes and roast veg can easily be turned into healthy meals that you can either share with your family, or portion off and put in the freezer. We turned our turkey into a massive turkey curry (find a nice recipe here) whilst our veg got blended and made into a warm and hearty soup (recipe here) This way nothing gets wasted, and you don’t have to have yet another turkey sandwich.

Make Realistic Goals

I think the biggest problem is when people make New Year’s Resolutions, and they make them completely ridiculous and unachievable. Make your goals something that you can actually achieve. Instead of saying ‘I will go to the gym 6 times a week’ think logically about how many times you will be able to get to the gym (also stepping outside your comfort zone a little bit) and instead maybe say ‘I will go to the gym 5 times a week’. Instead of saying ‘I am going to eat 100% healthy’ say ‘I will eat a healthy and balanced diet’.

Another idea is to write down your goals, and expand upon them. If you want to go to the gym 5 times a week, roughly what workouts will you do, maybe one yoga class, one HIIT session, a leg day, a core day and an upper body day? Or if you want to start eating healthily, you could say you’ll treat yourself to one meal of whatever you like every week. Or you will eat healthily and this is what it will consist of.


Put Your Goals Somewhere You Will See Them

A really cute idea is to get your goals for the new year printed off, and putting them in a frame so you can see them every day! I think I might do this, this way you will be able to read your goals every day and will constantly be reminded of them subconsciously.


Transition in a Way That Works For You

Cold turkey (‘scuse the pun) might work for some people, but more often than not, slowly transitioning into your new goals is a better way of doing it, and far more sustainable too. Slowly make it a part of your routine and before you know it eating healthily or going to the gym most days won’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. Having said that, I know that personally throwing yourself in at the deep-end does work better for me, so it might be worth analysing how you work as a person and doing what best suits you.

Set Rewards For Yourself

A nice way to keep the incentive going is to assign yourself awards if you make it to the one month mark, and then again at the two month mark etc. Choose a prize that you really want. Whether it’s a new set of leggings, a night at the theatre, or a new picture you’d like for your living room. Giving yourself a treat for doing well is – whilst sort of patronising – will actually work wonders. It’s also best to avoid choosing food as the prize, as assigning food that sort of prestige can be dangerous if you’re like me and you love food!

My Intentions for 2017

I thought I’d share my intentions with you all for the new year:

  • Work hard at upper body & core strength
  • Reduce refined sugar and dairy intake (completely if possible)
  • Improve posture & work at shoulder mobility
  • Continue with meditation and Headspace app
  • Work to improve self confidence & self love

My goals might be a bit specific, but I have thought hard at them, and whilst I have other goals, these are the things I need to improve on the most and work hard at. I will do a check up post at the end of January to see how I am doing!

What are your goals/intentions for the new year? I would love to know!