So onto the next part of my trip, 5 nights at the Barberyn Reef Resort on the South West Coast of Sri Lanka. As the name suggests this is on the beach and when I arrived it was my first glimpse of the ocean since landing. The instant I see the sea I smile, I have always been the same. To add to it, the beach front location it in an alluring mix of chaos and calm- The waves coming in from the ocean are quite rough but they break about 20 meters out on the reef. That leads to a few good things; you can walk on the reef, you can hear the waves very clearly at night and the water directly in front of the resort is almost motionless. Great paradox. Which brings me nicely into my reason for being here; the contradictions of modern life. Ones quest to feel happy and fulfilled versus the pressures of the everyday commute, bills, deadlines, the failure associated with not posting to Instagram daily. There are a lot of things at odds and I wanted to learn another way of balancing them.
Here I go- off on another adventure. Oh no wait, that was the old me. The new me just works all hours under the sun in pursuit of her dreams. Now I am not complaining, I love being an entrepreneur BUT to function at optimum levels one needs balance & that is what I am seeking in my latest series of blogs all about wellness.
OK so I am exaggerating slightly, but only slightly. As a tech entrepreneur, I look at some of my fellow tech startups and think that’s genius. It started with the likes of Uber, Deliveroo and Just Eat finding success catering to just how lazy we’ve become- ahem I mean how savvy we are to use technology and our time so wisely. Que a string of apps to have almost all of our needs delivered right to our door. This is one of the most enjoyable and fascinating blogs I have been a part of- just look at all the things I achieved without leaving my house…
Handy- London’s fast and easy home cleaning service. I found it had easy online booking but do keep in mind it’s reoccurring automatically. Super convenient and great service but perhaps over rigid- by that I mean your choices have to fit into very definite boxes. Like the addition of one bedroom window I wanted cleaning the only option was to charge for the whole house. Overall good service and you can’t help but love the convenience of rattling through the to do list via an app.
Hello Fresh- now I’m by no means a chef but even I can do this and I loved the experience. Once a week you get all the ingredients delivered to your door. Everything you need to make fancy dinners from scratch. Step by step guides too. Childs play and forced me out of my boring food routine. I genuinely feel I’ve learnt things I can take forward and (as you know if you follow me on snap chat lauren_riley22 or Insta @misslaurenriley) They are all pretty healthy and I’ve discovered some rather interesting vegetables too. I highly recommend giving them a try.
Bevy- an app that’s designed to supply alcohol and various other associated products to keep the party going- think nibbles etc via an app. Swift and friendly delivery under an hour in fact and good communication in the meantime. I ordered only Gin and chewing gum and only wish this existed when I was a bit less business and a bit more of a party. Please drink responsibly!
TruBe- personal trainers to your door. Exactly what you are imagining. The UX (user experience) is very intuitive and I love the idea of those people who aren’t confident enough to leap head fist into the gym having this option. Gyms can sometimes be daunting places. I like it because I am so busy, this can fit around my lifestyle easily. It is important to keep fit and healthy where you can.
Spa by car- another one doing exactly what it says on the tin. Spas are always a favourite of mine and I the fact I was sat on my own sofa watching tv while having my nails done was a big bonus. It surprised me how much better the experience was minus the trip to the salon. I also had a massage, a must for a those leading a busy lifestyle.
Nutriseed- juice diet delivered straight to my door (as you can probably see the particular door was my office on this occasion). All nutritional work and portion control done for you. All you have to do is keep it refrigerated and drink five times per day. It’s not going to be suitable for everyone and I don’t encourage dramatic weight loss methods but pre-holiday I wanted to give my body a detox from all the naughty stuff I put in it living life a million miles an hour. For me the best benefit was how amazing an apple tastes afterward, totally resetting your taste buds.
This was such a fascinating experiment and I will certainly use these great apps again to suit what I have going on at the moment. Thanks to the brands involved in making this happen and you for reading. Please do give this a share.
It is pretty rare that I feel compelled to share an experience with you all, but this is one such occasion. When I first started speaking to Target Human Performance last year about their fitness retreats, I thought they were a good idea as I struggled to get out from behind my desk and that it would make a welcome break for me. I booked one with some excitement a few months ago but as the date drew nearer for me to go, I have to admit I panicked about the impact of me not being behind my desk and how much busier I would be when I got back. The week before I went in May was the climax for me- I was probably the most stressed I have ever been. The better things go in business the busier I become and the more responsibility I shoulder. I love what I do but knowing there is a limit to every person’s endurance no matter how dedicated- I packed my little case and headed for London Gatwick.
I arrived my usual positive self but a little jaded. Considering this was a fitness holiday and not just a jolly, I had one of the most incredibly positive weeks! So many small things aligned on this trip to make it very worthwhile:
1) Fitness. This is such a huge passion of mine but I frustratingly do not get to indulge like I used to when I was in employment. I was probably a good ten pounds lighter and I would estimate 5% body fat more toned. My physical appearance bothers me when I don’t train but it is so much more than that. The mental stimulation associated with exercise cannot be beaten for me. When I arrived I was three weeks post London Marathon so had concentrated my efforts on running. I hadn’t been in a gym yet all of 2016. Most of their sessions take place outdoors and involve the typical HIIT (high intensity interval training) that I love. Hard work over short periods of time. Think- dragging a tyre round, burpees, squats, pushups and many other body weight exercises. These are interspersed with boxing, stretching, running and posture training. The day always started with an early morning hike and ended with yoga-esk cool down. It was challenging at times but that’s why I was there and you could go at your own pace if you wanted. James and David delivered the sessions and tailored it to each attendee’s objectives. For example, I struggle with a sore neck frequently because of long hours at a computer and the posture classes taught me something that I can take back to the U.K.
2) Location. They have teamed up with Almond House in Spain to provide the setting for their Spanish retreat and what a choice! It is a villa/ rustic house in the middle of nowhere. So quiet you can hear a pin drop (over the sound of me working out) anytime night or day. I find it hard to put in words just the feeling of tranquillity that I managed to achieve while here. Its run by an English couple Paul and Jules who are just lovely. They share their home with four dogs, six cats and a few horses. You have to be an animal lover really but they are only in the communal parts. My bedroom was ensuite with its own private terrace and bursting with charm. The surrounding areas made the perfect setting for our hikes, challenging terrain and not another house for miles. They also do normal accommodation when the fitness retreats aren’t on so you can still benefit from the place if you needed a break. The sun shone all week which is a definite bonus!
3) The schedule. The say started at 07.30am with healthy juice. And typically followed a set schedule. Hike, breakfast, rest for 90 mins, HIIT type work out, one or two more classes, lunch, afternoon class and stretching, rest for 90 mins and 8pm dinner. Fortunately for me there was enough time to schedules calls to the UK for the business and to keep on top of my emails. However, if you were able to relax in this time there were plenty of rooms and a secluded pool to do so. I felt the balance between rest, keeping in touch with back home and working out was just right.
4) Company. I attended the retreat solo but the group is up to six so you still feel the benefit of almost personal training. They were all busy professionals mostly execs who like me were looking to escape. I was the youngest of the group but not the fittest I am ashamed to say. There were varying levels of ability but not determination. Everyone there was serious about fitness and I felt a competitive edge helped me to keep going. We did take advantage of the local wine on offer a few evenings and we became quite a close group by the end- many colourful game of cards was played and anecdote exchanged.
5) Food. Now usually I wouldn’t add a section on this but it could have formed its own blog it was THAT good. All home-made with passion they managed the near impossible of making even soup seem interesting and all healthy options super tasty. Let me just clarify- the pics don’t even do it justice!
My experience really was a brilliant one, the retreats run throughout the summer and can be found here.I know they are growing and will soon be adding more venue and dates. Thanks so much to THP and Almond House for forcing me to take a break, I feel fitter more relaxed and ready once more to plough on as an entrepreneur with renewed vigour!
So, my business is tech, my passion is fitness: imagine my excitement when I was invited to try, IMHO (that’s text speak for ‘in my humble opinion’, for those of you not yet familiar with the lingo that youth is speaking these days), the most fun fitness equipment going. It’s an anti-gravity treadmill whose technology was developed by AlterG founder Sean Whalen.
Happy new year!!! My first blog of 2016 to give you an honest look back at last year and what went needed to change. And more importantly a motivational look forward to 2016 and what it holds for me!
I have recorded a video for you to watch on my YouTube Channel.I hope you enjoy it and that you continue to share my exciting journey into 2016…
During the course of my blogging I get to meet some really great people. One such lady was the wonderful Zanna Van Dijk, personal trainer, Instgram star and fitness inspiration to many. I have often mused about the link between entrepreneurs and athletes and there are fascinating studies providing insights about the similar characteristics needed for success in both fields. Zanna is also a business woman in her own right, successfully turning her passion for fitness into her business and I am keen to learn more.
It’s great to be able to interview you Zanna, to start please tell us a bit about yourself.
Thanks for having me! I am 23, live and work in SW London and have my finger in many pies. I am a fitness, lifestyle and travel blogger, personal trainer and fitness model. I am a speaker, event host and the co-founder of the #girlgains movement. I am also a little bit of a social media addict and enjoy sharing content across various platforms from youtube video-blogs to instagram posts. I love the multi-faceted nature of my job!
Turning your passion into your business is the dream for so many, how did you achieve this?
I get asked this a lot and I actually find it hard to answer as my journey to where I am now was not a typical path. I actually studied speech therapy at university, but alongside my degree I started my fitness related social media accounts. These were simply there to share my passion and find other people with the same interests. Before I knew it, I had unintentionally gathered a fairly significant following and started to collaborate with brands and get new opportunities – all alongside studying. When I finished university I got a first class degree and everyone expected me to become a speech therapist. I went against expectations. At this point I had around 30,000 people following me and the chances I was getting were more and more exciting. I decided to give the fitness industry a go. I made my website and rebranded myself. I got offered a free personal training course in London and moved down on a whim. I intended to be here 6 weeks… here I am 8 months later. It was a struggle at first to make ends meet but now I have learnt how to monetise my social media and am finally grasping what it takes to succeed as a blogger. You have to have an element of entrepreneurship as you need to pull together a series of incomes and find new ways to expand and develop your brand. Its risky, exciting and rewarding. I love it.
I follow you on Snapchat so I get to see snippets of your day, but for those who do not, can you give us an insight into a typical day?
A typical day does not exist! No two days are ever the same. Some days I will be working from home in my PJs, others I will be all over London in meetings with brands, sometimes I will spend an afternoon shooting and often I am awake super early to take early morning PT clients. If you want to see a day in my life then add me on snapchat where I show little snippets: zanzapan 🙂
You are doing amazingly well on the social media side. One of the things I love about your page in the odd refreshingly honest post that documents your tricks and what real life looks like the other side of a lenses, that’s refreshing. Do you feel a responsibility, particularly those followers younger than you?
Well firstly, thank you. I am glad you appreciate those posts! I definitely do feel responsibility to my followers. I am very aware that many of them are younger than me and often say that they look up to me (and not just because I am tall!). I try to make sure that I show my imperfections, the lows as well as the highs. No one is polished all the time and eats salad 24/7. We all have down days and it unrealistic and unattainable to only show the good bits. People often compare themselves to those they follow on social media, so it is our responsibility as influencers to make sure they are comparing themselves to real, honest and open human beings.
The online world you occupy can unfortunately be notorious for negativity and trolls, have you ever experienced this? If so, do you have any tips for dealing with it for any readers who might experience the same?
I have to say, I am very lucky and have received very little negativity online; which is a miracle as the internet seems to be full of trolling. If I do ever receive a negative comment, I am confident enough in myself to just let it roll off my back. I just delete the comment and move on. There is no point dwelling on the opinions of people who don’t know you.
As you know from our previous exchanges, I love fitness but recently have struggled to strike the work life balance, do you have any fitness tips for busy people or entrepreneurs?
I think everyone has their moments where the work life balance falls to pieces, and that is ok. Sometimes business has to come first. I will be the first to admit that sometimes I don’t train for days because I am too busy. However, here are a couple of strategies which you can put into place to help fit fitness into a busy schedule. The first is to plan it into your diary for the week ahead, writing it in like an appointment that you can’t miss, so you organise your other work around it. The second is to be efficient with your workouts, you don’t need to be in the gym for over an hour. Most of my workouts are between 35-45 minutes long. I just use techniques like supersets (doing exercises back to back) or HIIT (high intensity interval training) to cut down on time. If all else fails, do 8 minutes of tabata training. It is hard to make an excuse to avoid an 8 minute workout!
It is great to see you doing so well but what is next for you?
Thank you! Lots of exciting things are in the pipeline. I have my clothing collection coming out in a couple of months, a few press trips before the end of the year and some exciting magazine articles being published. In terms of the long term, I hope to continue to grow my own brand as well as #girlgains and eventually have world domination…. it’s ok to be ambitious right?!
It is more than OK to be ambitious Zanna! Thank you for the interview. I hoped everyone enjoyed the read and picked up a few tips too!
Social media: @zannavandijk on Facebook, instagram twitter and Facebook, @zanzapan on snapchat, www.zannavandijk.co.uk
Earlier this month I interviewed with Zanna Van Dijk, who is an Instagram star and fitness inspiration of mine, so it was great to be involved. As it is mostly about my attitude to fitness, life and business I thought you guys might like to read it too. Here it is, thanks to Zanna:
Interview: Lauren Riley
8th November 2015
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the gorgeous Lauren Riley at a press event earlier this year. As a woman in business myself, I find her incredibly inspiring. She is a successful entrepreneur with a lot of knowledge to share, I hope you enjoy getting to know her.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Where to start…I’m Lauren Riley and I’m a lawyer, public speaker, blogger, vlogger but most recognise me as a business woman. I founded The Link App a communication tool revolutionising the way law firms interact with their clients. I was on BBC The Apprentice last year so I can be found on the odd red carpet too. I am super keen on health and fitness although at the moment I’m working 6-7 day weeks so this is suffering much to my dismay. I promise I am not just saying that because I am talking to you. I think keeping on top of my body, keeps me on top of my mind and I’m just a normal person outside of my business, I am quite girly really and where I can I like to look good. Travel is a major passion of mine, I’ve been very lucky and been round the world a few times but its hard right now with all that’s going on with work. Currently loving life as a newbie to London town, I’m a bit of a social butterfly!
Obviously many of us know you for your time on the The Apprentice – can you tell is more about what that was like? (Is Alan Sugar as scary in person?!)
You know what it was actually a lot of fun to film and it been an amazing place to start a business from so I can’t complain. I always say that he is exactly the same in person as he is on television. So if you think he’s lovely then he is, if you think otherwise… you are also right. That’s my diplomatic answer but the whole process is designed to be scary or it wouldn’t make good TV. We won two awards last week including the most inspiring TV show so we must have done something right, thanks to all those who voted. I have one of the awards on my dresser at home.
You’re a successful entrepreneur, can you tell us how your career developed and progressed this point?
Sure. When I was younger I wanted to be a barrister or an actress. I was close… I’m a solicitor. I was pretty proud of that being the first generation in my family to go to uni. I worked in the civil service to help financially through my course. So although I did a straight academic route I always had to work pretty long hours. When I graduated I was completely fed up with exams and only part way to qualifying as a lawyer so I took three years out. I worked abroad and enjoyed my early twenties, enriching myself with travel and life experience. After a year I went to do a business graduate scheme as I was always interested in business, I loved the skills but hated the job so went running back to the law. I qualified from my post grad with distinction and was lucky night to land a training contract that year. I put this down to my ability to talk but mostly the ‘mistakes’ I had made, taking three years out to pursue something outside the law gave me ‘commercial awareness’ and that’s very important no matter what your industry. Then when I qualified I was a divorce lawyer and I enjoy that side of my work but I spotted a huge opportunity for technology to improve the way lawyers work for the benefit of them and their clients. The idea for The Link App just wouldn’t go away and I eventually went for it with the thinking that it would take off slowly but from almost day one the reaction was amazing. I feel very blessed and I LOVE what I do. As my journey isn’t conventional I am asked to speak regularly and I love sharing my journey through my talks and my blogs.
You are smashing life right now! How do you juggle everything you do – especially with an interest in health and fitness?
Being completely honest, if you’d have asked me about fitness a month ago I’d have said I was doing alright. Just recently there has been zero hours in the day for me and I hate to admit that as I strongly believe that balance is the key to a happy life. I’m still in OK shape as fitness is such a priority so if there is ever even a small amount of time, I’m on it with HIIT type exercises. I get up early and go to bed late and work every day except Sundays. However I am NOT complaining, I love what I do and I realise it’s a choice. I took on a lot but I don’t want to give up any aspect of my work. I love blog/ vlogging it’s a form of self-expression and I only agree to take on brands that compliment my lifestyle. For example I’m passionate about fitness and tech so I’m working with Move GB at the moment, it’s an app that allows you to have flexible access to hundreds of gyms across London. Working with fitness and technology, two of my things, does not feel like work! Same with law, I am passionate about my clients and as The Link App is aimed at lawyers it make sense for me to understand them from inside the industry. There’s no magic formula I can share I am afraid, it’s about hard work and surrounding yourself with the right people to support you. There is that famous phrase something like “entrepreneurs spend a few years like most people are not willing to, to spend a lifetime like most people can only dream of”. If it all works, I will take my downtime then…..from a villa in Barbados and I will work out every day and look like a Victoria secrets model haha.
Can you summarise your own personal approach to training and nutrition?
Sure, I don’t like to mess about. I am time poor determination rich so I chose high intensity every time. Classes like Insanity, kettlebells etc. I do like the body weight stuff, burpees, pushups etc but I’m also a fan of weight training. I quite often Instagram the stuff I am up to in the gym too, battle ropes etc. When I was employed I went to the gym 4-5 times a week and that’s what I would still like to achieve. When I’m being good I eat ‘clean’, everything from scratch, nothing processed etc. I also instagram my food from time to time. I am not perfect though and do indulge in things that I know aren’t great from me. I think life is about balance so if you eat right most of the time that’s OK, 80/20 is a good principle. I am a massive fan of hot lemon water in the mornings and religiously drink green tea.
I can imagine you’re pretty busy – what is a typical day in your life?
There is no such thing. One day I will be chained to my desk 8am to 10pm pushing through things for the business. The next I will be in my own law firm seeing client, or in other law firms giving training on how to use The Link App. The next I will be travelling to give a motivational talk elsewhere in the country or at a launch of a product for the blog and that evening I could go to a celeb event; although I usually only allow myself time for these if they are for charity or a brand I like. The good thing about the blog/ vlog is that I will nearly always be doing things I love; like taking spa breaks or trying out beauty or fitness products, so that’s really like my time off. If im lucky I will have the time to eat right and smash it in the gym.
I love seeing whats on peoples plates. What does a typical day in your diet look like?
Good question, breakfast is nearly always scrambled egg made with oat milk and spring onions and hot lemon water and green tea. Lunch will be chicken cooked in coconut oil and soy sauce with broccoli and flax seeds and dinner will be similar to lunch. I try and make double portions so I only have to cook once. I live in London so I eat out too much, steak is my favourite!
Everyone else seems to hate burpees, but I personally love them! What is your ultimate favourite exercise move?
I wouldn’t go as far as love, but I actually do like them because you can smash though them in a relatively short period of time and they really work to change your body. I am with you on the burpees.
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of health/fitness advice and one piece of business advice what would they be?
Business: don’t be so hard on yourself. You are not making mistakes when figuring out your path. They are all just lessons leading you to where you are meant to be. Fitness: educate yourself first. I spent years in the gym doing low intensity stuff and eating badly and it was doing nothing for me.
Well done on all your success! What are your future plans?
Thanks lovely. Well I have only just start the vlogging channel. I am lining up some fab things, among them interviews with people like you, Amy Childs, Olympic athletes etc. I want to give people a real insight into my life and advice and that of others. The channel is www.youtube.com/c/misslaurenriley so that is very exciting. New thing happen with the business everyday so I cant wait to share how that turns out with you all!
Check Lauren out across the web:
I hope that you enjoyed reading that, to find out more about the inspirational Zanna head to http://www.zannavandijk.co.uk/
I am very excited to share with you my brand new YouTube channel http://youtube.com/c/misslaurenriley Vlogging is something that feels like a natural progression from blogging and something I have meant to do for a while now. I absolutely love blogging so I feel that this is going to be fun too.
In my first video I share a bit about me and what I intend to talk about in my channel. It would mean a lot to be if my blog followers would also become by vlog followers and subscribe here.
Here is my first video…enjoy!!