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Community: Interviews, Recommended, News, Events

Growth And Goals With Innermost Insider Amy Costello
Hi Amy! Can you tell us a bit about how you got into your fitness journey? Hey my Innermost faves! I was always involved in sports at school and loved running, but it was on my travels to Sydney, Australia, that my passion for fitness as a real, positive, daily part of my life, kicked off. I love the lifestyle in Sydney. Everyone is really invested in their health and fitness and that fuelled me to get my Personal Training qualification and start going to the gym (I’d never stepped foot in a gym before this!), where I learnt absolutely everything I could about functional and resistance training. I read books, I watched technique videos, and I put all of it into practice in my own training and programming. But this was just the beginning! How did your passion for fitness begin to translate into your full-time job? Whilst living in Australia, I met Mike, who is now my fiancé (woo) and my business partner in the fitness empire we are building!  It actually started when my Aussie visa was due to expire, and we were game-planning ways that we could stay together and avoid doing the long-distance relationship thing. At the time I was coaching at an F45 studio in Sydney, and after a bit of research, we realised there was only one F45 studio in London - so Mike got thinking - why don’t we see if we can open one!  It then all happened very fast - within a couple of months we had signed with F45 to open our own studio, had packed our bags and were moving to London. 4.5 years later and we've built an incredible member base and community at F45 Tottenham Court Road, and also launched our own fitness retreat company, Salt Escapes, where we run fitness holidays at various beautiful destinations around the world!  View this post on Instagram A post shared by AMY COSTELLO (@amykcostello) What was more challenging, opening your F45 Studio or launching Salt Escapes?  I would have to say F45. It was our first business so there was a lot to learn and a lot to prove. We made a heap of mistakes and knew next to nothing about business, but we worked our little asses off to build our gym into what it is today.  When we launched Salt Escapes, we already had an engaged, interested customer base in our clients at the gym, so it wasn’t SO terrifying to launch! Also, with it being our own brand and company, there were no limitations like with F45. Instead we were free to branch out, be adventurous and see what works. This is how we like to do things! How has your business evolved through lockdown?  Wow, it’s been a testing year. We lost a lot of members throughout the past year. Being located in central London was a huge advantage for the first few years of business, but when lockdown hit, everyone just disappeared!  It’s almost as though we’ve had the chance to start from scratch, which has meant we’ve had the opportunity to re-evaluate everything from our finances, processes and sales strategies, to our membership offering and client-relationships.  From that perspective (and ONLY that perspective), it’s been great for us. We’ve been given the opportunity to build our business back stronger. Nine months of closure allows you to do a lot of reflecting.  How have you personally evolved throughout the last year?  Well I’ve managed to avoid packing it all in and moving to a tiny island in the middle of nowhere - does that count?!  Haha, no but seriously - I guess for me, it’s been the year I’ve actually understood what it means to look after your mental health. It’s been a really challenging year to own a gym and a travel business, and my sleep and mental health has taken a battering.  Realising the importance of “self-care” (sounds cheesy, but it’s a whole vibe) has been a game-changer. For me, it’s walks in the park, my daily 10 minute Calm, switching my phone to Do Not Disturb, and prioritising learning (books, podcasts, journals).  View this post on Instagram A post shared by AMY COSTELLO (@amykcostello) What does the word ‘growth’ mean to you? Aside from #gains? Ha.  In the past couple of years - Mike and I have started saying to each other, and our team, “we like solutions, not problems”. Look, in work, training, life, there are always going to be problems, difficult people, and tough days. I used to obsess over the problems to the point they’d keep me awake at night. Now the minute a problem arises, I start thinking about the solution. Because there’s always a solution if you look hard enough, so what’s the point in stressing over things you have the power to do something about?  For me - that’s growth. Pushing forward, maintaining a solution-driven outlook whatever is thrown at you, and working out how to move past problems - adapt, reflect, learn.  How do you push past plateaus? I think the most important thing is that you recognise you’ve hit a plateau. Whatever it is you’re trying to change, be it weight loss, muscle gain, fitness levels, or whether it applies to work and productivity. I love to track everything. I write down all of my workouts, including the reps I’ve done, the weights I’m lifting, and even notes about how I felt during and after the session. This helps me clearly see when I’ve plateaued in my training, and encourages me to then reassess my goals and make a plan to push forward.  There are so many ways to mix things up. If it’s a training plateau, maybe try hitting the gym with a friend, trying out a different class, or getting a PT for a few sessions to give you some fresh ideas and perspective.  What aspect of your life do you struggle to develop most?  For me, it’s definitely finding balance. Running two businesses doesn’t usually allow for much down time, especially as I work with my fiancé, which means that we’re always either at work or talking about work. I really love working for myself, but it’s definitely had a big effect on my social life. Any 'time off' I do get, I usually feel like I just want to chill out alone. I definitely find it a struggle to maintain or build more meaningful friendships these days. Don’t get me wrong - I have a whole heap of wonderful people in my life - I’m just not that hot on messaging back or letting my hair down and going for a night out these days.  View this post on Instagram A post shared by AMY COSTELLO (@amykcostello) Do you set yourself goals? How do you make sure you achieve them? All the time! But I read a great book recently, Atomic Habits by James Clear, which taught me about the importance of goals that are specific and actionable. He says goals are good for setting direction, but systems are best for making progress. I can resonate with this from my own experiences, and from watching so many clients set themselves goals, and then feel like they’ve ‘failed' because they’ve been so focused on the end goal, as opposed to making small, actionable, daily changes to get them there.  So for example, a small goal of mine at the moment is to drink more water as I’m generally pretty bad at this. I’m making this a habit by setting out my bottle of water before I go to bed each night, so I see it first thing in the morning. I tell myself I can’t leave the house for work until I’ve had 600ml water. I also use a water tracker app, which sends me little push notifications throughout the day. System in place, and so far it’s working and I feel great!  What is your greatest life accomplishment? It’s got to be building Salt Escapes. Mike and I have been on the same page since we met. We wanted to create a life where we could work for ourselves and travel the world. We’ve achieved that with Salt Escapes, and there’s a lot more to come!  On top of that, I don’t think there’s any greater feeling than being in a beautiful part of the world, with a bunch of amazing people who have just had the week of their lives, and have been inspired beyond measure, and realising that you made that happen.  What’s one goal you’re going for now? Work goal: Building my businesses back up in a post-pandemic world. We’ve got 9 Salt Escapes trips on the schedule for this year and I’m going to do everything in my power to make them all happen. I just need Boris to play ball!  Personal goal: Mike and I want to buy our first house by the beach. It’s definitely a longer term goal, but everything in our foreseeable future is now driven by this end goal. We’re focused on a future of beach walks, BBQs and puppies!  What are the benefits of having a growth mindset? The opportunities! Personally, I didn’t do too well at school. I didn’t get the point of learning for the sake of learning. But I’m pretty proud of the fact that through hard work, applied knowledge and a lot of determination as an adult. I now own two businesses, work for myself and get to travel the world.  Natural talent or academic intelligence is one thing, but a growth mindset allows you to experience success, build resilience and overcome challenges, all through a simple shift in your perspective.  To keep up with Amy, follow her on Instagram and on Salt Escapes.  Read more
Editorial of Neev Spencer looking to the side
Innermost Insider, Neev Spencer, is probably best known for her positions as a television and radio broadcaster, having found success in her multiple broadcast roles, including her notable award-winning shows on popular UK radio station KISS FM. Having spent years of her career supporting industry-giants on tour, hosting for some of the world’s biggest brands and being the face of some of the UK’s favourite TV programmes, Spencer is also known for making waves with her advocacy for mental health, particularly following her own experiences with postpartum depression since becoming a first-time mum. The subject of mental health is one that Spencer is hugely passionate about, combining her wealth of industry experience with the topic to interview A-List celebrities such as Ed Sheeran on the topic live on air. Having been inspired by her incredible work and dedication to raising awareness surrounding mental health, we sat down with Neev to discuss the reasons behind her passions, her incredible fitness and mental health journey, and all things optimism. Hi Neev! Can you tell us a bit about how you got into your fitness journey? I would describe myself as a yo-yo dieter. My whole life I was never very happy with my weight but never quite took it seriously enough – I would go through phases of trying this and trying that. I would say that it became a very important thing to me when I was pregnant, this is when it became a priority in my life. I wanted to do a lot of pregnancy yoga and wanted to be the fittest I could ever be or have ever been ahead of the birth. A couple of months after my first baby was born, I found out I had an undiagnosed slipped disk in my back – not the kind of surprise that you want when you’ve got a tiny baby to look after. It was horrific. It was an injury that they think happened years before, from DJing – maybe carrying my record bag around, but it was a terrible, terrible surprise. It meant that I was separated from my baby a lot which really impacted my mental health. It was a dark and difficult time, but a time for me to learn so much about myself. I had to have physiotherapy to get walking again and take care of my little one – this is when I learnt about my body in a much deeper way and had a much deeper appreciation for my physical health. After this happened, I was hell-bent on helping people with their mental health, especially pregnant women. I had gone to deep depths and had to rise and swim to the top, and thankfully, I made it. But – not everyone does. This is what motivates me with my charity and mental health. Following his journey, fitness is now something I prioritise and enjoy. Why is fitness so important to you as a woman? As a woman, a lot of us want to be mothers. As a result of this desire, it’s very important that you keep your physical health up there. It’s also really important for our hormones, and our mental health. It’s good to feel proud of yourself! As women we have high pressured jobs – many of us whilst juggling being a mother, being able to create that time for yourself and your preferred exercise method is you and that thing – and that is important. It is for you. What is the one piece of advice you would give to our readers regarding their fitness journey? Listen to your body, and what it is telling you. Don’t just think of fitness in an aesthetic way. I’d love to be able to fit into my jeans before I had children, but you need to take your time. You’ve got to nourish the changes you are making and cultivate it – that’s where Innermost comes in. Those supplements supporting your goal, keeping you maintained and on the right track. What is your greatest life accomplishment? First and foremost, my children. But, I am also immensely proud of the fact that I was the first British-Asian woman to ever get a commercial mainstream radio show. How did you know that you were ready to become a Mother? I had always wanted to be a Mum. I’ve always loved children and after I met my partner I knew that was a priority. We are so grateful that being a parent was able to happen for us – there were many years when this dream seemed very distant, and this struggle really opened up my wellness journey. Being a parent and having gone on that natural journey is a blessing. Can you tell us a bit more about your mental health campaign work? I use my own lived experiences to help relate to other people and help them through what they’re going through. These range hugely – from domestic abuse, to personal struggles: I lost my best friend to drugs and alcohol when I was in my 20s, I suffered depression in my teenage years, and again, as a first-time Mother, when I was separated from my little one, this took a huge toll on my mental health. I’ve found that being honest and sharing how I got through those moments is what drives me to help other people, and that’s why I make it my mission to do as much mental health work as possible. Do you think ‘optimism’ is something that we can learn? Absolutely. It’s something that we have within us naturally – children are very optimistic, they are innocent and joyful. Life really wears us down – experiences, loss, trauma and grief, all of that plays a part in where we begin to lose that optimism. For me, optimism really is faith. I am Sikh, but this faith doesn’t necessarily have to be in God, if you’re not religious. It’s a faith in the greater good. Faith in humanity – that something good is out there. It is the most important thing you can have as a human. What are your top three life tips for staying optimistic? I think the place we are in as a society with the pressures of social media can lead us to forgetting how lucky and fortunate we really are. When you focus on where you are in comparison to someone else, this can be really powerful. It’s important to ground yourself. Get a blessing box. This comes from Tibetan culture and is a way of looking ahead towards your dreams and never give up on your fantasies. This allows you to really focus on what is important. Allow yourself to see the positive sides of life, don’t focus on the negatives. Do you think that optimism affects our physical health, as well as our mental health? Absolutely – without being optimistic you can begin to feel lost. Optimism gives us direction, and we need this grounding to feel at peace. This allows us to feel less anxious and in control. Being able to look ahead to our dreams is a way of us constantly motivating ourselves. Small practices like setting an intention everyday and using this as motivation to keep this together is a great way of keeping your mental health in check. Optimism is the line that lies beneath all of this – regardless of what your intention is.  This is hugely important for our psyche. You can’t have good mental health without good physical health – they work in synergy. Finally, who are your role models? I’d have to say my parents. They are just wonderful. They’ve been through so much, they care for my little brother who has special needs, and even though they have been dealt with unbelievably difficult cards in life, they have always taught me to persevere. They taught me that you must remain kind and compassionate and have really instilled those morals on me. I’m very proud to be their child. Other than that, I would have to say Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Muhammed Ali – anyone that uses their platform and voice to help motivate and change the whole world we live in. That’s what a role model is to me. To keep up with Neev, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.  Read more
Kate Parr posing on one leg
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Aaron Breckell looking to one side
Aaron Breckell is an online body transformation coach at ABC fit and an Innermost Ambassador. Aaron has been a coach for over five years now, and is currently working with over 75 clients online all working towards fat loss, muscle gain and performance based goals. We sat down with Aaron to find out about how healthy habits and routine fuel his hustle, and how he teaches the importance of habit to his clients.  Hey Aaron! Tell our readers a little bit more about yourself and your background? I'm a personal trainer and online coach that helps individuals to burn fat, build muscle and improve their confidence. I’ve been doing this for around 10 years now and have worked with hundreds of people. My own interest in health and fitness comes from my background and experiences working out in the gym and improving my body and lifestyle. As well as my interests in the gym, I’m a keen guitar player and I also love surfing! What inspired you to start ABC Fit? My coaching business is a reflection of my ethos when it comes to health, fitness and body transformations. I love helping people and I wanted to deliver a message to my clients that shows simplicity and sustainability. Getting in shape and improving your health doesn’t need to be, nor should it be hard and complicated. The “ABC" in ABC Fit stands for Aaron Breckell Coaching, but ABC being the first three letters of the alphabet are simple and easy - just like the message I’m trying to get across.  Do you think health and fitness is all about habit? Habits allow us to live our lives efficiently without thinking about the small, regular things we do day in, day out. I think of them like the human body’s autopilot. Developing good habits and maintaining them is fundamental to seeing longterm sustainable results with any goal. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Aaron Breckell Coaching (@aaronbreckellcoaching) How have positive habits changed your life?  Positive habits have not only helped me to change my body, build my confidence and improve my health. They also have created the disciplines that have allowed me to build and run a successful coaching business. Take us through your daily routine. How do your daily habits drive this? 7am: My days usually begin at around 7am. I kick the morning off with my breakfast which is usually a high protein/moderate carb/moderate fat meal. I find this is the best way to start my day. Along with my breakfast I take The Focus Capsules. This has been such a fundamental supplement since working from home for me as it helps me to keep my focus and concentration. As we all know there are so many distractions at home that can get in the way - so staying on top of things mentally is vital! 9am: After my breakfast, I let this settle and switch on my laptop and reply to any urgent emails or messages from clients. The next thing on my agenda is to take care of myself so at around 9am I begin my workout. Around 20 minutes before my workout, I start sipping The Energy Booster. Making a habit of a morning workout means it gets done. 11am: I’ll finish my workout with the Innermost Strong Protein. This hit of protein helps my muscles to recover, plus its got creatine added which is a bonus so it can help to replenish my creatine stores too. I’ll be showered and dressed and at my desk by 11am ready to get stuck into the day. The bulk of my working day involves checking in with clients via my app, answering any queries and creating custom meal and workout plans for them to follow for amazing results. 1pm: Around 1pm I’ll have my lunch. I normally opt for something quick/easy, yet nutritious like a chicken wrap with avocado and salad. One thing I’ve found that has helped my productivity massively since working from home is to make a habit of setting and planning daily tasks to accomplish each day. It’s also really important to schedule in breaks during the day away from work or else it becomes so easy to keep working through without a break. It’s great to work hard at your job, but you still need to look after yourself right! View this post on Instagram A post shared by Aaron Breckell Coaching (@aaronbreckellcoaching) 2pm: After lunch I’ll be back at my desk again and getting stuck into more client focused work. I quite often use this time to create content for my social media too. 6pm: I’d typically work right up until 6pm, by which point I’m ready for my dinner! I normally cook up something like fajitas or a pasta and meatball dish in the evening. Again something high protein and delicious! 9pm: Around 9pm I’ll take The Recover Capsules to further assist my recovery from training and the working day. This nootropic contains all sorts of amazing micronutrients such as zinc and magnesium, to help assist with recovery and calm the nervous system for an even better nights sleep. I’ve found I sleep like a baby since adding these into my routine. 10:30pm: I’ve made getting into bed by 10.30pm a habit. Sleep is so important! Best advice for breaking bad habits and routines? I would say - ease yourself in. Work on one thing at a time and nail this before moving onto the next. So many of us try to overhaul our routines overnight and as a results fail to adhere to the changes. Looking for ways to create accountability within the new habits you’re trying to stick to can also be helpful. For example an online coach, a food diary, a habits buddy you can share the journey with or by keeping a journal. Best advice you’ve ever been given? “In every negative situation there is a positive. Sometimes we just have to look a little harder for it”. Looping this back around to habits, if you keep failing at sticking to certain habits, there’s a reason behind it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you look into why it's happening. Find the why and you find the positive. Understand what it’s trying to teach you, learn the lesson and I guarantee you’ll be successful. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Aaron Breckell Coaching (@aaronbreckellcoaching) What have you found to be the most challenging habit to keep up with? When I first got started on my journey, I initially found drinking 3L of water each day to be a challenge. One way to help stick to habits you’re struggling with is to understand the positive impacts of it. For example we all brush our teeth twice a day because we understand it will help us to keep a white healthy smile, a clean mouth and fresh breath right? I didn’t understand the importance of staying hydrated - so once I educated myself around that I made a much better effort to stick to it as a habit and it worked. What are some of your worst habits?  Social media scrolling at night! We all do it, and it’s probably effecting our sleep patterns negatively. It’s definitely something I need to work on over the coming months and instead perhaps leave my phone in another room when I get into bed. Favourite aspect of being a lifestyle coach? I love being able to communicate a message to my clients (and followers on social media) that takes them from point A to B. It’s so empowering for me to see another individual achieve something important to them, especially when they’ve tried before and failed or have been led to believe that it’s impossible. To learn more about Aaron, follow him on Instagram or head to his website.  Read more
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