2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: physical wellbeing

Do something you love!

Do exactly that. Do that one thing that will put a smile on your face, will give you that extra spring in your step and will make you feel happy. Take some time out for you and do something nice. Now, this doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could mean running a warm bubble bath, lighting some candles and taking a long soak with a glass of wine and a (waterproof) book. It could mean going away for a spa weekend or it could mean spending time friends and family. Last weekend I did just that. Something that I love.

I haven’t been cycling for ages

This is very true. The last time I did any type of long distance on a bike was about 18 months to 2 years ago. I used to do it all the time. Almost every weekend I would be seen on a bike heading out to the Thames Tow Path, Richmond Park or over to Windsor Castle. Rosie and I met through a cycling group as well. On top of that I was doing a long of long-distance charity cycle rides. I did the Thames Bridges, London to Brighton and Pedal for Scotland to name a few. I cycled at least 4 times a week then did the strength and conditioning in the gym. Once I started working closer to home, I started cycling to and from work which could mean up to 7 days a week. For those of you who are London based sometimes cycling was the best way to get from A to B. So, as you can see, I cycled a lot.

Life got in the way

Once we had moved up to Scotland life unfortunately life got in the way, we started new jobs where the commute was much longer than 15-minute cycle. Rosie also got sick. The bikes were put at the back of the garage with a tarpaulin over them and were just “left”.

The preparation

Last Sunday after I felt like going on a cycle to see how far I could get before having to give up. I first had to get my bike out. Not an easy task as we have been using the garage as a storage area and there were hose pipes, barbecue, shelves and garden kit in front of it. I was not going to be defeated at the first hurdle. Let’s just say our garage is now re-arranged into a tidy mess now and I got to the bike. For being neglected for the last year or so it wasn’t in too bad a shape. I cleaned it up, checked and inflated the tyres, check and re-oiled it, triple checked the brakes and gave it a good once over.

Off I go

I had decided that I would go along the Forth and Clyde Canal Tow Path. I had been along parts of it before but had never done a full stretch of it. Today was the day. I started at Croy and joined the path at Auchinstarry Marina. It took a good few kilometres to get my legs into the rhythm of it all again and remember to keep my posture in the correct position as well. It took me even longer to figure out the gear system. But as the kilometres passed on, I became more comfortable and as the say I was back in the saddle (so to speak).

Before I knew it

I was at the Falkirk Wheel and had a decision to make. One way would take me to the Kelpies and the other way could take me to Linlithgow and Edinburgh. I decided on the Kelpies. Once I had got there, I thought about taking the train back home but my legs were enjoying the cycling, so I ended up cycling all the way home.

I was tired and hungry

Rosie and I have a saying: a good exercise session is where you are falling back through the front door tired, hungry but happy. And that is exactly what I did. I had cycled for around the 4-hour mark (including breaks) and I had clocked up an impressive 53 kilometres. For someone who hasn’t done that distance in a year or two I thought it was a great start.

Do something you love!

And this is my point. Go out and do what you love. Put a smile on your face, put a spring into your step and be happy.

Challenge update

We are in week 3 of the challenge. Last week I got 1063 minutes of exercise. This week is a bit of a struggle though as I have a lot of things to do which leave a lot less time for exercise. At present I am 338 minutes in. This means I have 662 minutes left (11 hours) and 4 days to do it in. I will give it my best shot but at present I think I will fall short. Time will tell, I guess.




Last week’s blog was about BMI and the parameters surrounding it. From the comments I have heard from you all I can safely say that it is making a lot of you unhappy. You feel you put in the effort of eating correctly and getting lots of exercise but then a number lets you down. I will wait and see if the powers that be will change this, although I doubt that they will.

Carrying on from BMI

Carrying on from the BMI post, I want to look more at exercise and how easy it is to get it in. As I said last week the numbers for exercise according to the NHS website are as follows:

Inactive – less than 30 minutes exercise a week
Moderately active – between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise a week
Active – between 60 and 150 minutes of exercise a week

Remember that this for a week. A whole week which is 7 days which is 168 hours and finally 10080 minutes. So, you can see why 30 minutes of exercise is a very achievable figure as the bare minimum. The 60 minutes is beginning to push boundaries, but it is the 150 minutes which really starts to push things. However, in my opinion I would suggest adding two more layers to the chart.

Very active – between 150 and 300 minutes of exercise a week
Extremely active – between 300 and 500 minutes of exercise a week
(Challengers – 1000 minutes and beyond)

Let’s give the people who are constantly moving a category and a pat on the back to say well done, lets carry on being active.

The new categories

The new categories seem like a lot of minutes but let me break it down for you, so it seems easy. To get 300 minutes it would work out as follows:

30 minutes of walking 4 days a week = 120 minutes
60 minutes of walking 2 days a week = 120 minutes
90 minutes of walking 1 day a week = 90 minutes
Grand total = 330 minutes per week

It’s as easy as that.

If you happen to have access to a home gym or sports centre, then take out that 60 minutes of walking and add in a 60-minute class.

The 500 minutes is slightly trickier as it involves more time however, if you do have time then it can be achieved.

30 minutes of walking 5 days a week = 150
2 x 45-minute spin class = 90 minutes
2 x 60-minute pump class = 120 minutes
1 x high intensity class = 30 minutes
Gardening over the week = 120 minutes
Grand total = 510 minutes

Activities of daily living

Let me break this down even further into activities of daily living. This is as follows:

  • Walking to the bus stop/gym/corner shop
  • Parking at the other end of the supermarket when going in to buy one item
  • Walking up the stairs at work or in a department store
  • Sitting down and standing up during an advert break on television or getting up to make a cup of tea every hour
  • Vacuuming your house from top to toe
  • Getting up at work and walking over to a colleague’s desk rather than phone them

There are many more too.

I understand we are all busy day in and day out but even small changes like the above can help us all keep active.

Challenge update

Last week I said I was going to challenge myself in getting 1000 minutes of exercise each week of July. I am pleased to say that last week I got 1042. Now, I thought that 1000 minutes would be easy and that it would be plain sailing but even I have had some pitfalls. I got one of those 24-hour buggy things and managed to pull a muscle in my leg. This meant that my Saturday was completely wiped out and my Sunday I had to go easy. The main issue I had was fitting it all in. Now I am lucky that during Tuesday and Wednesday at work my participation in the classes counted however, that still leaves 5 days of the week where I had to put in the effort.

How I got to 1042

I got to my minutes by doing various classes. I did spin, Zumba, circuits and weights to name a few. After the classes I would pop into the gym and walk on the treadmill, go on the cross trainer, cycle or have a weights session. I also walked more than normal and then spent some of the time gardening.

This week

This week has got off to a rocky start as I am still nursing that pulled muscle, so Monday was a quiet exercise day, but I was back full force on Tuesday. At present I am 349 minutes into the week.

Just get active

Do just that. You don’t have to get to my challenge of 1000 minutes in a week but challenge yourself personally and aim for an extra hour or two. Start from there and see what happens. Believe me when I say your mind, mental health, physical health and general wellbeing will all thank you. Plus, along the way you may lose weight, tone up those muscles, improve your posture, speak to people at the gym and make friends, hang out with your favourite person and so on.



I believe most of us have our own views of what yoga may be and that is absolutely fine. When I first tried yoga a long time ago, it had this secrecy to it. I almost felt I had to pass some kind of test to get accepted. Certainly, the other yogis seemed to be from another planet, managing to do all these weird and wonderful poses (asanas). I did not understand much at the time, but I knew I liked how it made me feel afterwards. The feeling of leaving the yoga class was a great boost. I had a clear head, a loose body, great posture and you walk like you own the world. It makes me feel great and ready to take on the world.

New to yoga

If you are new to yoga and wonder what it is all about, then I will describe it. You attend a class with a certified instructor who leads from the front. They will show you exactly what to do while providing you with different levels of difficulties, from beginner to advanced. Breathing, and at the right time, is very important in each asana. Again the instructor will tell you exactly how to breathe and when. The class starts with a warmup, then the asanas, then relaxation at the end. Depending on which kind of yoga class, there are other elements too, but this is a great place to start. Some classes focus more on the spiritual side too, however that is not my cup of tea.

Yoga versus Pilates

The main difference between the two is that yoga focuses on the spiritual side. My personal opinion is that yoga makes you more flexible due to how you work your body compared to Pilates. They are both very good and have great benefits.

Yoga teacher training

I completed my yoga teacher training in 2017, 200 hours in total. One of the highlights was the practical at the end, where we had to teach asanas to a class. Helen, the other Spud, came along as my volunteer. She took part in most classes that day so spent 6.5 hours being taught yoga. She reminds me of as often as she can about this. Now Helen likes anything that is fast, such as spinning, circuit training and boxing. Yoga is a lot of things, but I would not describe it as fast. So, it really took a lot of effort on her part to remain serious and do what she was taught. She is usually the one giggling as she can’t get into the asanas. She did a great job and admitted to feeling a lot more flexible afterwards. This lasted about 2 days and apart from a few fun days out she has not one any yoga since.

We are all different

What works for me might work for you, but then it might not. I consider myself a yogi. However, if you were to ask others, they might think that I am not a “true” yogi. I say this as I do not embrace everything that is associated with yoga. I have simply picked out the pieces that work for me. Which is really important to do with everything in life.


Taking part in a yoga class relaxes me. It relaxes my poor brain, as well as my body. To me, I can really measure the benefits from doing yoga, both mentally and physically. At the moment I have some niggling in my wrists, so I adjust the asanas accordingly. It doesn’t stop me though.

Your decision

I am not here to tell you what to do. If you have not tried yoga before I hope this post makes you feel a little more at ease. I would encourage you to try a class. If you are anywhere near me in Scotland and want a session, please get in touch.


NB. 2 Spuds is based in the Glasgow area.

Body Image

It is a hot topic at the minute with this being Mental Health Awareness Week. The Mental Health Foundation only yesterday announced that it had done a piece of research on it. According to the report 4,500 UK adults were asked, and about a third of them were anxious about their body image. Another 1 in 8 were experiencing suicidal thoughts about it. (BBC News website)

The very thought of the words body image can make someone jump out of their skin. It will have people running to the mirror and asking why me? Someone may read this blog and think I have tried every diet but why am I still big or why can’t I put muscle on or I wish I could lose that baby weight and so on. Here’s the secret: there is no magic formula. The truth is your body belongs to you. You oversee it. It is unique. 

Your body can tell a story

It is very true; your body can tell a story. It is the life of you. So, the story of me is as follows. I have a small scar across the bridge of my nose from where I decided to nosedive into a table at the age of 2.  I also have 3 keyhole scars on my abdomen from 18 months ago where a cyst on my ovary bust, caused a right issue and had me in emergency surgery to sort it out.  I have facial tics which depending on my stress levels can be very visible. My left hand holds two rings, my engagement ring and my wedding ring. I recently cut my hair really short and got myself an ear piercing.  My toes are webbed (no I still can’t swim well), I have fat around my belly which due to a medical condition makes it hard to shift but I keep trying. I wear glasses, I had teeth braces as a kid and for a female I am taller than average. I work hard at the gym doing my own workouts so I stay strong. I also love nothing more than running around in jeans and a t-shirt. There you go, a small version of my story.

The other side of the story

People have mocked me in the past, bullied me, people have said why can’t I lose weight, why were my teeth like a bunny’s and why couldn’t I dress more feminine. Some of those words hurt, I had to listen while people said these things but did I pay attention? The short answer is no. It has taken me a while to realise that I am who I am. Some people will like me, and some will not. However, at the end of the day I cannot please everyone with the way my body looks. The only person who needs to be happy with it is me and I am more than happy with my body image. 

The media

I personally think the media has a lot to answer for. As a personal trainer I often get a person coming to me for their consultation, showing me pictures of someone on Instagram or other social media. It comes with those famous words; I want to look like this. Now bringing in a picture gives me a good idea of how you would like to look and what exercises to give you to get you there. However, most people want the easy fix. Now correct me if I am wrong but that message is usually not one that social media portrays. People want that internet body which will happen overnight whilst still being able to eat fast food and binge-watching telly. I have to disappoint these people and say that it could take up to a year to get that way. What I offer is good nutrition, at least 3 days in the gym, scaling down the fast food, limiting the alcohol and a lot of hard work. After the initial shock wears off that it will take a lot longer they sigh and say I will try it. The people who have stayed with me as a trainer have lost weight, toned their muscles, changed their diet to a healthier version and so on. But here is my point: it is a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. And at the end of the day they are much happier. 


So, here is the bottom line in my opinion. If you are happy with your body image don’t let anyone take that away from you. Show off your scars proudly and let them tell their story. If you are not happy with your body image, then take a small step today into making a lifestyle change and keep going. Once you catch the nutrition and exercise bug I can guarantee you will find your happy somewhere along the way.


We are live!

We’ve only gone and done it. We are extremely happy and proud to be launching 2 Spuds in a Pod, looking after your physical and mental wellbeing. And here’s the marketing bit. We are live through our website, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Short and sweet. Grab a cup of tea and take a look around.

Now let me take you back to late 2017 where the reason we started of 2 Spuds began. We didn’t know at that point what we were getting into or how it would shape 2018. It has been an interesting journey to say the least.

I had gone down to London to visit Rosie and we had just finished dinner. Now usually I leave a cup full of juice post meal to last me into the evening. We cleared up from dinner, had finished the washing up and were just sitting chatting. I reached for my juice to find an empty glass. I asked Rosie is she had drunk my juice and the next thing I knew was Rosie starting crying. Not little tears but big tears, struggling to talk and breathe crying. I thought it was an extreme reaction for just drinking my juice but here we were. After calming Rosie down, we started chatting about what was going on. Rosie was saying that she had been crying walking down the street, crying on the bus to work, crying at work, crying at the supermarket picking up milk and the list went on. For no rhyme or reason, she would just have a meltdown. I wasn’t too sure what to do at this point except for keep Rosie calm and try to get her a GP appointment for the next day.

This was an extreme reaction to such a simple question, so we urge anyone in the same situation not to panic, take a deep breath and seek help. Send us an email or reply to a thread on the blog. 2 Spuds will try and help you out as best we can. Of course, you can go straight to your GP as well. It is a frightening thing to go through but there is help out there for you. More importantly you are not alone.

The next few months saw us at various GP appointments, being referred to the mental health service, psychologists, mindfulness CD’s, reading many articles and so on. Rosie was diagnosed with Depressive Illness. Let me explain, imagine your brain like a fuse board. When we can cope with life, we oversee how many switches we have on and we can tell which switch to switch for each situation we are faced with. In Rosie’s case all the switches were on, and one day the fuse box under so much strain just blew and shut down. Through our blogs Rosie will take you through what it was to feel like to be at some of the darkest points she has ever felt, and I will take you through some of the situations I dealt with whilst looking after her. 

We will also give you ideas, advice, practical tips and so on for how to keep yourself active, how to eat well, how to seek help, how to help someone who is having a mental health crisis and so on. If you need help urgently, please visit our support page where you will find a list of people who can help. In particular, Samaritans who you can call anytime.

As I said during 2018, we went through a lot. At some point we mentioned that it would be a nice idea to write down what we had been through and how we could help other people in a similar situation. We then got thinking about what else we could do to help people out. This is where we are today. I urge you to look at our page called “What we offer” which will give you an idea of what we do. We are hoping to create a safe space for people on the site where people like to bring their tea and biscuits and feel they are not alone in any physical or mental health crisis.

Now excuse us while we go for a sit down, before more hard work begins as we push 2 Spuds in a Pod out to various people and get this idea flying.

– Helen & Rosie

[#mentalhealth #happiness #youarenotalone #physicalwellbeing #mentalwellbeing]

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