We chatted to the incredibly inspiring Neat Ambassador and Community Manager at lululemon, Ashleigh Stirling, to find out how she got started in health and fitness, her favourite healthy snacks and how she finds time to relax as a new mum.
Favourite Neat Nutrition Product: Chocolate Vegan Protein
How did you get started in health and fitness?
Health and fitness have always been part of my life, being active is definitely my happy place. In previous jobs it was something I would fit into my mornings and weekends, but now I get to explore and build community through yoga, mediation and a whole host of other sweaty pursuits as part of my job - so I feel pretty lucky!
If you weren't in this job, what would you be doing?
Well right now I'm taking a break from my job, and I've got myself a new gig as a full time mum for the next 12 months. Completely new territory, one that nothing could've prepared me for - I'm taking it day by day! But if I wasn't doing that, I've always wanted to open a small coffee spot that specialises in muffins!
Favourite shake recipe and why?
My breakfast shake: Neat shake made with vegan chocolate protein, frozen blueberries, spinach, oats, half an apple, half a banana, chia, flax and nut butter - topped with almond milk, sea salt and cinnamon.
For me it's amazing to know I've started my day with a hit of protein, fibre, slow releasing carbs and vitamins - any other goodness on top of that is a bonus. Plus it tastes so damn good!!
What exercise do you dislike?
Hmm, I think any run longer than 45 mins. Although I've done a couple of half marathons and really want to do a full (but I think that's more about the training and then mental journey).
What's your favourite healthy snack?
Homemade banana bread or granola bars or protein balls.
Where is the best place to eat well in London?
We are so lucky to have so many great healthy options in London; we all eat so well. I love Squirrel at the moment. They use amazing ingredients, and you can really tell. It's also open until 8pm, which is amazing if I need a healthy dinner but I can't find the time to make something, I don't have to resort to cereal!
What have you wanted to quit but didn't?
Caffeine. I've tried to quit, but I've never managed. I don't have an excessive amount - a cup of tea and one morning coffee a day. I don't worry as it's not an excessive amount but I love coffee, and my morning ritual, but I think it's a good practice of will to cut them out every now and again. In 2015 I gave up one thing a month, and it tended to be habits I've created that weren't positive or could do with shaking up - and it was a really good practice. It either made me give up something altogether or made me much more mindful around my behaviour.
Being so busy, what do you do to relax and why is it important to take time for yourself?
Well time for myself now I have a newborn is a totally different thing. I'm working in 3hr windows of time and during the day I might get and hour or two on my own. If I'm at home I tend to read or cook. Or in the evening I'd take a bath with magnesium salts. If I'm on my own and I can get out, I would go to a yoga class.
Lastly, why is being a Neat Ambassador important to you?
I'm an innate connector, and when I find something I love, I can't help but tell everyone I meet about it. It was like that with Neat. And it goes beyond the product (which it goes without saying is quality); it's the energy of the company and the team.