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How to Train More Sustainably

21st February 2023

21st February 2023

By Robyn Schaffer

Everyone’s talking about sustainability. In every sphere, in every industry, sustainability seems to be the topic du jour. And thanks to the ongoing pandemic, the environmental issues that our planet and society was already facing have been unexpectedly magnified.

Now more than ever, we’re realising the consequences that our actions have on the future of the planet, and the choices that we make in all aspects of our lives are becoming more and more critical by the day.

The world of fitness is no exception. The UK fitness industry is one of the biggest in Europe, in second place to only Germany, so the impact we have in this area is paramount.

Over the past few years, a whole host of brands and companies in the industry - big and small - have been working to make the fitness space more sustainable and ethical. Not just for the benefit of the planet, but for us as individuals. However, we know that if you aren’t so well-versed on the topic of sustainability, it can be difficult to know where to start. 

So with that in mind, we’ve put together a list of five easy steps you can follow if you want to know how you can train more sustainably. Mother Earth will thank you later.

Sustainable activewear

Activewear. It’s our favourite type of clothing, even more so since lockdown. According to GlobalData, the UK sportswear market is forecast to grow by 20.9% out to 2023 to reach £6.7bn. That’s a lot. So the choices we make when buying our gym gear are pivotal.

Instead of fast fashion brands or global high street labels, opt instead for local or independent, ethically made, sustainable brands that don’t contribute to the huge amounts of waste created by the fashion industry.

Think leggings made from recycled plastic bottles and total supply chain transparency. What’s not to like? Some of our personal faves out there right now are Girlfriend Collective, TALA, Perff Studio and Pangaia.

Recycle your old gear

If you’re a bit of an activewear hoarder (we won’t judge) it might be time for a clear out. But did you know that 350,000 tonnes of used but still wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year?

That’s around £140 million worth of clothing wasted. Instead, recycle or donate your old gear. Initiatives like Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe programme takes your used shoes, recycles them and gives them a new life. While Adidas' trade-in option lets you send them any old gear (used or unused), and they’ll then reward you with points to put towards a new purchase. It’s a no-brainer.

Be more plant-based 

Incorporating more plant-based foods and meals into your diet has become one of the biggest health trends of the past few years. In fact, interest in 'veganism' and eating plant-based increased seven fold in the five years between 2014 and 2019, according to Google Trends. 

Eating more plant-based meals is not only beneficial to your body (just think about all that natural goodness), it’s also more sustainable for the planet and the beings that inhabit it.

To get started, why not try Meat-Free Mondays once a week? There’s many misconceptions about eating plant-based, and getting enough protein doesn’t always mean shoving in the steaks. Try our delicious recipe for lentil and mushroom bolognese if you’re in need of some inspiration.

And don't forget that many of our Innermost products are also vegan. If it's good enough for GQ and Men's Health, we know you'll love it too. 

Cut that carbon footprint

In 2017, greenhouse gas emissions from road transport made up around a fifth of the UK’s total GHG emissions. So if you’ve been driving to the gym, think again. Luckily, there are plenty of ways we can cut our carbon footprint in relation to our training.

Take public transport, cycle, walk or even run to the gym - who doesn’t want to get that extra workout in? Motivate yourself by downloading apps like Strava or Nike Run Club to track your movements and compete with friends. Now’s your time to show off.

Spread the word

Last but not least, one of the best things you can do for the sustainability movement is spread the word.

Talk to friends and family about your sustainable finds, follow new brands on social media and share their content wherever you can. There are also plenty of sustainable fitness blogs out there to keep you informed and entertained while you learn.

Check out a few of our favourites here:

Now it's time to put in the work. We'd love to hear how you get on with these suggestions for incorporating more sustainable choices into your lifestyle and fitness routine, so hit us up in the comments below.

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Other Insights

The Best Exercises To Improve Your Rowing PB
Whether a seasoned gym addict, first-time fitness enthusiast, or avid water goer, there’s nothing quite like smashing your rowing PB. While it might look intimidating to begin, it’s much simpler, addictive, and most importantly, beneficial to your body than beginners might think. Like any workout PB however, there can reach a point where your best time seems to plateau. After all, there are only so many times you can improve right? Well not necessarily. In addition to a high protein diet and the use of fitness supplements like The Power Booster to aid performance, there are a wide range of exercises to try that can improve rowing endurance, power, and technique. By the end, getting a faster rowing PB should be a breeze. The Benefits Of Rowing Firstly, it’s important to ask; should you go for a PB in the first place? Short answer: absolutely! Rowing offers a complete high-intensity exercise all without skipping a beat; just a single session will train 9 of your muscle groups and around 85% of your body’s muscles. Compared to other workouts, this builds strength and endurance within key muscles in the upper and lower body. While achieving that rowing PB can be tough, being able to endure the challenge and feel the muscle growth is an unmatched workout joy. The versatility of rowing means everyone from cardio lovers to arm day enthusiasts can look forward to smashing their next PB. Rowing workouts are also low-impact and kind to your individual joints. This makes it the perfect PB challenge for those recovering from, and looking to avoid persistent injury - or perhaps even the dreaded shin splints. The exercise also provides mental benefits for the individual through the release of endorphins (the body’s feel-good hormones).   Exercises To Improve Your PB So how do you go about improving your PB? Well because rowing utilizes a complete range of muscles, getting a better time is all about targeting these individual parts of the body. This requires a mix of all types of workouts from cardio and core to strength training. Cardio Workouts To bring rowing performance to the next level, it’s almost essential to incorporate a strong aerobic focus into your exercise. Given the repetitive and continuous motions required with rowing, it’s easy to get stuck in the trap of pushing yourself too much – especially when it comes to striving for a PB. Cardio performance exercises are a fantastic method to build your rowing endurance, improve your heart health, and simply just lift your mood. For the best results, we’d recommend a mix of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and steady-state cardio (SSC) workouts. High-Intensity Interval Training HIIT exercises are all about raising the heart rate and building strength and stamina. They balance short but maximum-intensity workouts with rest intervals – think short sprints, fast cycling, and squat jumps. This makes HIIT an important tool to improve cardio capabilities and smash that rowing PB goal. Steady State Cardio SSC workouts on the other hand focus on continuous but long-term workouts. Instead of 2-minute short sprints of high intensity, you might take a light 30-minute jog for a consistent heart rate. These exercises have the benefit of improving your endurance levels and making it easier to continue rowing until hitting your distance target.     Strength Training While debates continue to rage about whether rowing is a cardio exercise – we’re firmly of the it is camp – strength plays just as vital a role as endurance. Regardless of whether you row 500, 1000, 2000 metres, or beyond, there will always be a mental balance required between the rowing strength you exert per rep and the overall distance remaining. By improving key muscles through strength training, you can reduce the effort and difficulty on each row to improve speed and overall performance. Given the full body sequence of actions used in rowing, we’d recommend you focus your workout on 3 key areas: legs, core, and arms.         Leg Exercises Your leg contains some of the strongest muscles in the body. Given its importance to strong rowing performance, it’s not exactly surprising that we’re recommending you incorporate leg exercises into your fitness routine. This is especially true at the rowing catch point - the end point of each row – where the greatest leg force is required. To improve leg muscle strength, we recommend simple but effective exercises like squats, lunges, and targeted deadlift sessions.     Core Exercises While it might not be completely obvious, your core muscles – the stomach and lower back muscles - play a pivotal part in maintaining your posture and improving your rowing PB. They are especially important in supporting rowing form toward the end of the workout when you begin to tire. A strong core also minimises the workload on other muscles that would otherwise have to work harder to compensate for a weak core. Core workouts are also simple to do whether at home or the gym. Just some ideas include plants, hip bridges, and Pilate ab crunches. Arm Exercises Arm strength also plays a significant role in maintaining rowing form, albeit slightly different depending on whether you’re at the gym or treading the waters. For water goers, the arms act as a messenger of sorts. They transfer the power generated from the leg and core muscles into the rowing oar and push the boat forward – a fairly important element to achieving any sort of distance. For the motivated gym goer, strong arms can provide well-defined concentric and eccentric muscle movements that benefit form. To focus on improving arm muscle strength, there are plenty of exercises you to try. Just some effective choices are bicep curl and triceps extension workouts, but you can even try something as simple as home push-ups (which will also help in improving core strength). The Importance Of Technique, Rest, And Recovery With all this said, a key and often overlooked part of improving a rowing PB is simply getting the basics - effective form and technique before, during, and after any exercise – down. Consider adding some simple and easy stretches before a session to effectively warm up your muscles and best prepare your body. Likewise, you could have all the endurance tools you need to succeed, but a poor rowing technique could see you waste unnecessary energy. Efficiency is key here. The other added benefit of good form is that it greatly reduces the chance of any injuries which let’s face it, is quite important to training and smashing the next PB. As someone who has gone for a personal best on many occasions, I can agree that this last part can be the most difficult, but achieving a PB is all about planning rest and recovery days into your training. Listening to your body here can be crucial. Pushing too hard increases the risk of overtraining, potentially leading to injury. To this end, it can make it easier to think of recovery as another stage of the workout process. Remember, rest days don’t necessarily mean you have to do nothing all day. Gentle exercises like walks and even yoga can work wonders for body recovery. Interested to discover more about Innermost Power Booster Supplements? Looking for the best ways to fuel your next workout? Perhaps you have some amazing and inspired ideas to share? Don’t hesitate to message us on our Instagram @liveinnermost. Read more
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