Blogger, personal trainer, cookery author and creator of hip workout Ballet Blast, Sassy Gregson-Williams talks movement. HER non-negotiable
Sometimes the art of not thinking is the thing that gets you going, don’t start to analyse if you can do it or think about all the excuses that can keep you in bed – switch on auto gear and go. Once you’re out the door you won’t turn back!…
QDoes your motivation fall flat over the hotter months? If so, why do you think this is?
AThere are certainly times I just want to skip the gym for a glass of a little something outside! Who doesn’t? And sometimes I do. But my motivation doesn’t fluctuate greatly over the summer. I am used to dancing 8 hours a day, so movement is something I’ve grown to love, it’s a necessary moving-meditation for my mind.
QIf not how do you get the drive to get up and move? What tips can you give to others? Why do you find these work?
AMy drive stems from reminding myself of all the reasons I should move. Starting with how it makes me feel, with the knowledge I’ve never ended a workout session regretting I started. Tracking progress is incredibly important for motivating yourself, and of course with that comes having a goal to your training. It’s important you have somewhere to aim for, whether it be a health related goal or a physical goal. Whatever it is it must be measurable, e.g: a particular weight you’d like to reach, a speed you’d like to run 5k in or a move you’d like to be strong enough to do. Take a weekly note to monitor where you are in the process, re-motivating you to keep on going.
QShould we alter our movement/exercise over the summer months? Why/Why not?
AUnlike food, there are no seasonal workout routines, however, getting outside for your workouts in hotter months is a great way to re-inspire your routine. Taking a session to the park (or just in your own garden/terrace) I often find to be a big performance enhancer with my clients!
QHabit forming vs willpower. How can we form a habit into moving our body?
AConsistency in repeating the same thing day in, day out – just like brushing your teeth. If you plan on working out five times a week pick the days and times and write it in your diary, scheduling it like a meeting. The habit is sticking to those times weekly regardless of anything that crops up after, it becomes routine. The willpower is getting yourself there, especially if it’s a 7am class, my tip here is just do it. Sometimes the art of not thinking is the thing that gets you going, don’t start to analyse if you can do it or think about all the excuses that can keep you in bed – switch on auto gear and go. Once you’re out the door you won’t turn back!
QOur Neom mantra is “wellbeing small steps, big difference” – do you agree? why / why not?
AI completely agree, for me this relates to all elements of wellness and my approach to fitness and the structure of my Ballet Blast method. Broadly speaking just taking one small step in the right direction and adding to that is the best way to see a big difference. Slow and steady is the best way to implement and form new habits and routines, so they become something you actually enjoy and not a chore.
QWe believe that lack of sleep, poor energy, stress and mood dips are all related – do you agree? why/ why not?
AYes, with one often encouraging the other. High stress results in not sleeping, which results in anxiety about sleeping and the cycle goes on and on. Stress I do see as the bigger factor and something that can be helped through mindfulness and meditation, something I’m far from pro at. I make sure I schedule some time every day, even just 5 minutes before bed, to stop and focus on my breathing. I notice when I’m stressed that my breath is the first thing to change, I almost hyperventilate through my day, so I take some time to focus on the waves of my breath. Also, as I mentioned moving is my main form of meditation; Ballet Blast sequences or yoga, this helps when I can’t keep still but want to switch off my mind.
QWhat are your Neom must-haves to use to get you going over the summer months?
AI’m a big fan of the Nourish, Breathe & Smile Hand Balm over the summer. I’m often travelling quite a bit, and with dry skin the flights are extremely dehydrating for my skin. This is a must-have in my hand bag, it’s extremely nourishing and the scent is gorgeously fruity. I also love a Feel Refreshed scented candle for a good old stretching session.
QYour fast paced workout Ballet Blast. What is this? Why does it work?
AMy workout method, Ballet Blast, is a fast, ballet inspired cardio workout that fuses high intensity interval training with classical dance principles. Unlike many fitness classes that feel like you’re clenching and shortening the muscles to feel the effect, this method is all about working at length and visualising your extremities to create long lines and work all the muscles throughout the body.
I developed Ballet Blast with the intention of making high-intensity ballet movements accessible to everyone, so this method is by no means exclusive to dancers; it’s about getting the most out of your fitness class, whatever your experience level, and about coaxing your body into new and challenging positions that will create beautiful long, lean muscles.
QWhat small steps do you think can help us? What’s YOUR bedrock of wellbeing?
ASome of my favourite small steps to get you started include making easy swaps for week night meals (white rice for brown etc), making a conscious effort to include more vegetable based meals throughout the week, and maybe making one day meat free. Pick up a well recommended (evidence based) book on health/diet/fitness and devour the knowledge. With exercise, a small step could be as simple as walking to work, or running back, look at your day and see how you could sneak in some more movement.
For me wellbeing extends to your muscular health, as if you have pain your mind becomes far more stressed. Think about using a standing desk, or sitting on a Swiss ball. Look at your phone at eye level, instead of straining your neck down for hours of the day. There are lots of small changes you can make, the most important one is to just get started. My bedrock of wellbeing is incorporating movement into my every day, however small. For me, this is how I connect with my body and check in with myself, my non -negotiable.
QTips for home exercise?
AIf you’re new to working out at home, I’d always suggest planning your session in advance so you can maximise the time you spend. I know working out at home can be distracting, but with a plan you are less likely to dip out after 20 minutes. A good way to keep momentum is using YouTube videos for inspiration, I create lots of Ballet Blast videos on my channel you can try, but there are thousands out there that may take your fancy.