Gym Bag Essentials

Health Bird caught up with yogi and all-round great gal Kate Kendall ahead of the Blackmores Running Festival this weekend (there's still time to register!) about what she keeps in her gym bag to keep her feeling fresh and energised during a hectic teaching and training schedule.  

   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Water –  I always carry around a large bottle of water and try to drink at least 2L a day 

Water – I always carry around a large bottle of water and try to drink at least 2L a day 

   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Beauty wipes  – I never leave home without my Simple Kind to Skin wipes      

Beauty wipes – I never leave home without my Simple Kind to Skin wipes

 

   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Magnesium  – Blackmores Magnesium tablets are my secret weapon. Taken daily, they help my often over worked muscles recover.

Magnesium – Blackmores Magnesium tablets are my secret weapon. Taken daily, they help my often over worked muscles recover.

   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Healthy snacks  – clean, raw and slow release energy snacks like nuts and protein bliss balls are my favourites

Healthy snacks – clean, raw and slow release energy snacks like nuts and protein bliss balls are my favourites

   
  
 
  
    
  
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     My laptop  – I never know when I’m going to have 10 minutes to catch up on emails

My laptop – I never know when I’m going to have 10 minutes to catch up on emails

Beyoncé's Athletic Line is Here!

Want to workout like Beyoncé? All you gotta do is wear Ivy Park

We announced in 2014 that Queen B would be releasing an athleisure line with Top Shop and we’ve been waiting ever since – filling our days with Pilates, playlists and patience.

Well, drumroll…. Ivy Park hits stores in mid April. Yes, really, that is like, days away!

Originally a collab with Topshop, it looks like biz-savvy Bey has partnered with several retail outlets

The line looks to be all about dance-fit looks like leotards and legwarmers. Bootylicious loungewear to slip into after your workouts and studio-to-street style tanks and leggings. The collection will also include footwear and given that the lady behind the brand is the woman who runs the world, there won’t be any slacking off when it comes to tech-performing fabrics and sports-savvy stitching. 

In fact, word is the delay is due to ensuring the technical elements and overall design are nothing less than flawless. 

 

 

Miami Heat - Swimwear turning the temperature up

A girl cannot have enough cossies - for all you international girls, that's Aussie slang for costume/swimwear, be it bikini or one-piece. I regularly pile in between three and five cossies into my suitcase, no matter the destination, and rotate them with an array of favourite cutoffs.

A current fave is new-on-the-swim-scene Australian label Midnight Swim, they've got sexy little suits all tied up. Think itsy, bitsy bottoms topped with racerback bralettes and knot-tie tanks. Check out Midnight's sun-kissed Instagram for the ultimate beach vacay inspiration. 

I'm also loving KORE SWIM. Launched as a collection of modest maillots in 2011 by sisters Jessica and Nicole Tracy, the label has since grown to include a full range of beachwear. Their sleek pieces effortlessly contour the body while remaining functional for Health Birds who like to take the action from the sand to the waves. With SPF on, of course!

Gym Class Sexy

SOLOW's Spring 2015 collection is full of wet-look strappy bra tops, fishnet-accents and animal-print leggings. It's the Guns n' Roses of activewear and set to rock out at a shadow boxing or barre class near you.

SOLOW enlisted denim pioneer Daniella Clarke - founder and creator of the iconic Frankie B. brand - to collaborate on the Spring collection. 

“When I received the call from SOLOW to collaborate I was super excited for the opportunity as I am extremely dedicated to a regular workout routine. I have a very clear understanding of performance needs, and as a woman I also know what we need to feel supported and what we need to feel good about ourselves when working out. [And] I feel it's key to create pieces that could transport you from street to gym in style and comfort.”

Sarah Siegel Magness, founder of SOLOW has been a huge fan of Daniella Clarke's for years and is excited about the new eye and an edgy twist she brings to brand. "Together, we are forging a new philosophy that women's active wear can serve a woman's desire for both fashion and function while maintaining her individuality.” 

Stand out styles for the hot-to-sweat health bird include mesh cutout leggings in snake prints, lightweight, airy lace short leggings, and super sexy lace bodysuits.

SOLOW ‘s celebrity fan base includes Cameron Diaz, Gwen Stefani, Jessica Biel, Lucy Liu, Eva Longoria, and Jessica Simpson.

SOLOW can be found in Bloomingdale’s as well as over 365 boutiques and online retailers 

Work It Out and Pay It Forward with THINK

THINK is the thought-proving workout wear label from New Yorker, Mariel Heather. It not only promotes physical wellbeing by setting you up for a stylish sweat session, THINK encourages positive thinking and personal growth by messaging feel-good slogans on crop tops, leggings and sweatshirts. Who doesn't need a little verbal reminder everyday about our inner and outer awesome-ness?

 The gorgeous, fit and socially conscious THINK creator, Mariel Heather.

The gorgeous, fit and socially conscious THINK creator, Mariel Heather.

The feel-good factor hits an even higher rep knowing that THINK donates 10 percent of proceeds to charities and nonprofits that are aligned with women empowerment. 

Health Bird spoke to the Brooklyn-based fitness buff - who turned her entrepreneurial spirit into an inspirational business - about her bright ideas and future thoughts on THINK.

Where did the idea for THINK come from? What inspired it?

THINK was born out of my love for fitness and my frustration always sporting uninspiring workout gear. I’m extremely active and whenever I’d workout, I always found myself  wearing another black tank top. I decided I was going to create cute apparel with meaningful messages, all while giving back to the community. Aside from creating a cute and comfortable fitness line with a positive message, I really want my brand to empower women all over!

What were you doing before starting THINK?

Before I started THINK I was a journalist. I had always been into fitness but never actively pursued a career in it until the summer before I started my clothing line. I received a certification in Mat Pilates and TRX.

How do you embody the THINK lifestyle? 
The THINK lifestyle is one in which you face life head on with a positive outlook, a life full of health/fitness, being grateful every day for what you have and giving back whenever you can, even if it's something small. The THINK lifestyle also empowers women, only bringing each other up. This is exactly how I live my life.

What is a typical day like for you?
I travel a lot for work to attend different events and meet with nonprofits. When I'm not traveling, I get up at 8am, remind myself what I'm grateful for (it's a really great way to start your day and puts you in the best mood), I'll work on all of my social media for the day and check emails. Almost every night I take a spinning class. That's my favorite exercise to do right now! If I'm not spinning I'll take Pilates or go to the gym and workout there by myself.

I love to design and am most creative when I'm at a quiet cafe with an iced coffee. If I feel really creative I can focus for hours until everything is completed.

Were you worried entering such a saturated apparel market? 
I was never specifically worried about entering a saturated apparel market. Starting my own business was just a scary thought as a whole but I always remind myself to believe more in my potential than in my fear.

What makes THINK different?

THINK is different because of its unique combination of promoting positive thinking, women empowerment and charity. THINK isn't just about fitness and it's not just about the the mind. It's about linking the mind and body connection. What we think about, we bring about!

SHE GOT GAME

She Got Game... That's the rad title of Running Bare's latest athletic looks. Cool, huh. 

The collection features high-impact prints, chic monochrome and some fierce florals and is modelled by cool kids who workout as much as they work the runway, Lola McDonnell and Kendal Lee Schuler.

Running Bare design director Yolanda Powell says the campaign is about CONFIDENCE, ATTITUDE and SPUNK. "We have created a fashion-forward collection to take you from the gym to the street in a variety of styles to suit every body type and exercise intensity."

Women Only!

Sports maestros NIKE have opened a women only outlet in Newport Beach, California. Get this, the destination is called Fashion Island. Don't you just want to run there now in your Nike Frees?

The brand famous for its Swoosh recently announced five big-time plans for the future of the brand's relationship with its female customer. These included the Nike Pro Bra (a sports bra that still fits when it gets sweaty!) and an upgrade to their popular Flyknit sneaks. 

“Growth of our women’s business is outpacing men’s, which demonstrates that our innovations and lifestyle products are really resonating with female consumers in today’s marketplace. We are also focused on key opportunities such as e-commerce, retail doors and apparel, and Nike Fashion Island is part of that growth plan," says Nike's North American VP Cathy Sparks.

Not only will the store offer key designer collabs, but there's an in-store studio offering classes to shoppers - so you can trial the apparel while getting your yoga on. 

Shanghai, China has also launched their very own women's only destination. Welcome to the Club!

Swim Style Crush

I'm crushing on this Lady Liberty one-piece cozzie from Island State

It perfectly reflects my life right now!.. An Aussie girl in New York missing the Down Under summer and lazy beach days but loving all the bright lights, big city action of NYC

Thanks to Island State, I know what I'll be sun-worshipping in (with SPF on!) when I jet back home to Coogee Beach.

I've reserved a spot for it in my Hamptons overnight bag for when the Northern Hemisphere warms up too!

Check out Island State's range of bikinis and one-pieces designed by two globetrotting Aussies and emblazoned with imagery from their travels - think Marrakech, Positano, Santorini, Amalfi Coast, New York City and beyond - on their website. There's boldy-printed resort wear that'll have you mentally booking your next holiday, and cute swim diapers for your mini me. 

2015's Sexiest Workout Wardrobe!

Come 2015 your workout wardrobe deserves an instant update. Here's what you'll be wearing courtesy of a sneak peak I had at the Spring/Summer season of Koral's killer activewear and denim line

The activewear is designed by Brazilian creative Ilana Kugel who effortlessly mixes fabrics like mesh, lycra and netting with details like cut-outs and piping to deliver innovative workout wear in a now saturated market. Wet-look swimwear that doubles a leotard (you know you want to), futuristic hoodies and colours that go POP in that pitch black cycle studio

The denim line has a rich heritage given that Peter Koral was one of the Seven for All Mankind co-founders. He went into business with has son, David, and denim superstar Rick Crane (also of Seven for All Mankind) to create the effortless LA-esque Koral denim that is being swept out of stores and online. Designed by Nicole King-Burroughs (who's 20 years in the biz extends to working for GAP and Rich and Skinnythe range features selvedged edges, brushed and raw fabrics, jumpsuits and a killer pair of flares!


Queen B shakes her booty for Top Shop

We know Beyoncé loves herself a little Topshop (who doesnt!?) but now, as reported by WWD, she's going next level by partnering with the retail giant to release an athletic/streetwear label. 

Topshop founder Sir Phillip Green met with Queen B for a bit of chit chat, and perhaps some tea, when they eventually decided to 'Put a Ring On It' and partner up to form Parkwood Topshop Athletic Ltd. (Parkwood Entertainment is Bee's management company, y'all)

Sir Phil, who can no doubt hear the sweet 'chah-ching' of e-commerce ringing in his ears, had this to say..

Basically, when she was in London in February we arranged to get together. We started talking generally, about doing something together. We’ve been looking at that [athletic] sector for a while. It’s something we need to be in. Based on what she does, how she works out, the conversation got into that category.
 Bey gets her workout on in 'Pretty Hurts'

Bey gets her workout on in 'Pretty Hurts'

The range will feature “clothing, footwear and accessories across dance, fitness and sports categories… with technical performance characteristics as well as an athleisure side.”

Ooh, 'athleisure' - yep, this is a word now. 

Beyoncé said, "I have always loved Topshop for their fashion credentials and forward thinking."

Just imagine the stampede come launch time in Fall 2015!


Sleep Easy

Six of Australia's top designers, artists and personalities have aligned with Sealy Posturepedic (the sleep specialists) to create a series of limited-edition beds that will not only support a good night's shut eye, but Cancer Council Australia.

How you ask, can you lay yourself down to sleep and help raise money leading up to Pink Ribbon Day?

The beautiful bespoke beds that each reflect the personal style of their artists - Reg Mombassa, Akira Isogawa, Henry Roth, Darren Palmer, Poncho Army and Shaynna Blaze - will be auctioned off between October 17th - 27th. All that coin will go towards vital cancer research, prevention programs and support services to help Australian women affected by breast and gynaecological cancers.

'Mechangaroo Celebrates NYE' is the design from celebrated muso and artist Reg Mombassa who played in the band Mental As Anything and is famous for his work with Mambo 

Sweat Session Stylin'

For all my new New York City workouts of course I need new outfits! And now, not only am I addicted to Jivamukti yoga, but my new sweat style obsession is Koral Activewear!

The  high-fashion workout gear offers shapes, colours and stitching that are totally unpredictable and almost architectural in design. The Koral pieces are crafted from signature luxe fabrics - texturised, reflective, breathable - and the collection is designed for girls on the run who wanna work hard and play hard (at the gym, yoga studio, bootcamp, spin class or at the barre). 

 Koral Activewear Grip Sports Bra in Ruby, Verso Sweater in Heather gray/black, Lustrous Legging in Ruby   

Koral Activewear Grip Sports Bra in Ruby, Verso Sweater in Heather gray/black, Lustrous Legging in Ruby

 

Get sweaty in style with this premium brand designed in Los Angeles by Brazilian designer Ilana Kugel who combines her memories of growing up beachside in Rio de Janeiro with her newfound Californian lifestyle to deliver fusion, function and fashion for the workout obsessed!

Scarf Style with Bird and Knoll

Bird & Knoll is a serendipitous creation of luxurious cashmere-blend scarves and canvas pouches that bring together the creators love of fashion, travel, lifestyle and photography. 

Founded by Macayla Chapman and Natalie Knoll in 2013, Bird & Knoll accessories are printed with an iconic photograph of an exotic destination taken by Natalie during her global adventures. 

"We have set out to create an accessories collection that the discerning fashionista would use as the final edit of her outfit - like a great handbag, a beautiful pair of shoes … an eye-catching scarf," says Macayla, who brings her business acumen to the brand.

 Island Ride cashmere scarf

Island Ride cashmere scarf

The heavenly scarves are the ultimate compliment to a summer frock, wrapped around your shoulders or protecting your hair from a wild summer breeze. Additionally, they serve as the ultimate travel companion, as do the printed canvas pouches that are perfect for throwing under your arm while strolling the streets of your holiday destination. Their versatility means they're also ideal for city girls who need a pretty printed hold-all for their iPhone, lipgloss, diary, keys and credit cards. 

The launch collection 'the first six things' that included prints from New York, Bali and Provence has now been complemented with 'tea, sugar and a dream' which includes their luxury cashmere-blend scarves and canvas pouches highlighted with imagery from six more exotic locations - Peru, Ibiza, Istanbul, Lombok, Greece, and Venice

Scarves retail for $298 and include free shipping. Shop here!

On the Upside

Ultimate workout wear label, The Upside, has just released their third collection in time for the Australian Spring/Summer get sweaty season!

 

Since launching in 2013, the fitness baby of one-time swimwear model (and Tigerlily designer) and all-time yogi Jodhi Meares, the brand brings together function and fashion with its designs and fabrics.

This season you'll see camouflage, palm trees, paisley and tiger stripes (want!) on a black base for their warm-up, workout and warm-down separates. Jersey pieces with custom-developed mesh details are highlighted with pops of neon pink and the reflective arrow icon.

The Upside pulled out all the stops for this campaign, pinning down celeb portrait snapper Mark Abrahams to shoot on location in New York City at architectural genius, Aurérlien Gallet's Studio. 

And yes, that is former rugby league player Nick Youngquest who's been kicking more goals with his modelling career since giving up a promising career on the field. 

Order now online or find your stockist here

Eco Bubba

Newborns are so precious, that soft, cottonwool skin, all talc-scented and silky smooth. They’re so delicate and delicious there’s no doubt they deserve to be cradled in fabrics that have been harvested from chemically-free crops.

Unfortunately, cotton production represents 3% of our planet’s agriculture, yet as cotton textiles pass through their many processes from soil to customer the use of chemicals represents up to 16% of all insecticides produced worldwide – more than any other crop.

Wow, that’s really something to think about – especially as even after many washes some of these chemicals are still present in textiles.

Ecocotton is unique in that it offers products that are crafted from naturally-derived, raw materials including 100% Aegean cotton which is certified byGlobal Organic Textile Standards. What a relief to know you’re wrapping your newborn or toddler in a baby range that is crafted from cotton that is free from harmful chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or genetically modified seeds (comprised of 40% fiber and 60% seed).

  The gorgeous pieces are designed in gender neutral tones and highlighted with prints and embroidery.

The gorgeous pieces are designed in gender neutral tones and highlighted with prints and embroidery.

  In addition to their baby range,   Ecocotton   offers a home range featuring heavenly bed linen, plush towels, cosy robes and accessories. I’m a huge fan of the   Marine collection  …

In addition to their baby range, Ecocotton offers a home range featuring heavenly bed linen, plush towels, cosy robes and accessories. I’m a huge fan of the Marine collection

If you want to know more about just what’s lurking in your favourite cotton t-shirt, read this article from Natural News.

Bravo to Australian cotton growers who have reduced their chemical use by over 90% in the last decade, with some crops now not being sprayed at all.

Vie Active - Bondi Body Workout

Noa Ries (co-founder of Vie Active) has been into health and fitness for as long as she can remember, training for the City 2 Surf with her dad when she was just eight, and running laps of soft sand along Bondi Beach. But it was in her early 20s that Noa became committed to health and fitness, or as she puts it, “I swapped my party heels for sneakers.”

Noa was soon training for triathlons and completed a half ironman before becoming a qualified personal trainer.

“Exercise just makes me feel better and it gives me the energy to get through the day. I know on the days that I don’t exercise I feel really sluggish and don’t have much focus. I’m really passionate about living an active life because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have vitality and energy.”

Growing up in Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach, it’s not hard to see where Noa got her inspiration from to launch high-end workout wear label, Vie Active.

“Something I love about Bondi is that whenever anyone from overseas visits us they’re always struck by how fit and healthy everyone is. Any day of the week there are people working on their fitness. It’s an incredibly passionate community of health and wellness. You can go for an amazing run along the coastline, swim laps at Icebergs or surf the ocean.”

Noa, a mum of two, remembers the day she was inspired to create Vie Active. “It was an epiphany – I found myself still wearing my workout clothes at four in the afternoon and I hadn’t had time for a shower that day and I felt really revolting. I thought, there’s got to be a way I can do an intense workout and run throughout my day and not have to make this conscious choice between being fit and being stylish. And also feel as good at the end of the day as I do at the start of the day.”

What followed was a two-year journey of research and development and pushing the envelope in terms of garment technology and fabric and print innovations. “I was really clear that I wanted to fuse fitness and fashion, and function,” says Noa who felt there were a lot of brands that were either really fashionable but not very functional or the other way around. “I wanted to fuse the two and that’s how Vie Active came about.”

Vie Active teamed up with Woolmark, the world's leading wool textile organisation, to use temperature regulating Merino wool in their garments. Merino fibres don't react with sweat, keeps you warm in cooler climates and cool in a clammy environment.

“It’s the most amazing fabric,” boasts Noa. “People think it’s strange to work out in wool but I say try it for one workout and you’ll never work out in anything else. I wear merino every day because I have a busy life and don’t have time for five outfit changes. I still feel good, and chic. The fabric works with me instead of against me.”

Vie Active celebrated their first birthday last month and will launch into the US market via their online sales porthole on July 1st.

“It’s been amazing. It’s blown all of us away how positively people have responded to it and I think part of that is the authenticity. I had a vision to create a brand that spoke to women, it was less about ‘here’s the latest tights and jacket’, it was more about, ‘here’s the latest green smoothie, here are the benefits of a Barre workout, here’s five exercises to do while you’re travelling’. And to really communicate the latest trends and inspirations in wellness.”

The result is a community of Vie activists around the world! “Enabling women to live an active life without having to make a decision between being fit or stylish is really empowering and the easier we can make it for women to live an active life, the better.”

“It’s an amazing thing to be able to celebrate having an active life!”

 

I trialled Vie Active wear for myself when Noa put me through the Bondi Body Workout moves she designed to give us girls a toned and terrific bikini body. Not only comfortable and sweat repellant, the designs and prints are definitely something I felt good wearing from workout to doing the daily run around in.

Noa and I worked out at the Xtend Barre studio in Brooklyn Heights where they offer Pilates and dance amplified classes for beginners, advanced and mums with bubs. Check out their new client special - three classes for $49!

“The Bondi body to me is toned and fit, tight bottoms, trim thighs, toned arms and flat abs. Nothing’s better than Xtend Barre for all of those!”

BONDI BODY WORKOUT

Complete circuit 3 – 5 times.

 

-Plié squat – 20 reps

With one arm out level with your shoulder and the other hand on your hip, squat repetitively, keeping knees in line with ankles.

Plie squat is a signature move of Xtend Barre, it’s great for toning the bottom, inner thighs and by holding your arm out you’re working on those small inner muscles.

-Tendu lift – 20 reps

Rest hands on bar or wall, softly bend inside leg and tilt and bend outside leg to a diagonal position as if you were swinging your leg over a bike.

Ideal for toning the side of bottom.

-Hip raises with tricep dips – 20 reps

With arms behind you, lift hips up into the air and raise one leg and lower down, alternate legs while dipping arms down from behind.

Hits the area where the hamstring meets bottom – where bottom smiles :)

And helps the butt to lift.

-Side planks with rotation – 20 reps

Start in plank position, roll hips over from one side to the other (meeting at plank in the middle) and make sure hips touch the floor on each side.

A signature move for chiseling the side of the abs.

-Russian twists – 20 reps

Sitting up with legs in a table top position, twist from side-to-side with a medicine ball or similar

Attacks the deep abdominal muscles and obliques.

-Leg flutters – 20 reps

Lie flat, with arms behind head and slowly raise legs up and down in a scissor repetition

You’ll feel this one in the lower abdominal muscles