With certain key buzzwords such as sustainable fitness, bio-degradable and eco-friendly suddenly popping up on every food, fitness and fashion advert, packaging, or Instagram post known to man – you may be thinking “how can I do my bit, to help save the world?”
But it’s hard to work out what is actually helping and what is just a marketing stunt.
So what if I told you that your actual workout could be the key… or at least the start. Working out, for me, makes me feel like the best version of myself, so why couldn’t it help the planet be the best version of itself too?
The fitness world has come leaps and bounds from where it used to be and is estimated to reach a net worth of 22.8 billion pounds by 2020, according to a recent study by statista. This increase has been fuelled by consumers health, fitness and wellness needs and has resulted in boosting the UK to an-all time high record of over 9.7 million (14.9% or 1 in every 7) people working out the regular, and the brands behind the screen are starting to realise that not only do they have the ability to cash in on this increase but also to make a huge change in the world – one squat, bottle and protein tub at a time.
With the rise in the number of consumers immersing themselves within the fitness industry, the requirements for products has, of course, risen too. Which means more athletic wear, more food, drink and supplement products and more equipment than ever before is being created (and ultimately wasted) to cater to the sudden demand. But with this increase, comes damage to the planet. Over and excessive use of harmful materials and chemicals, added air and transportation miles and buying into fleeting fads are all causes to the damage we are evidently putting on the world – but that can change.
So, I have put together five simple ways that we can all make a difference all while still getting that booty looking fine.
We all know how important it is in finding the right outfit that is not only going to make you look and feel good, so you are able to take on the world (read: your workout) but ultimately work alongside you. There is nothing more annoying than tights that fall down, bras that don’t keep it all in, and see-through pants that show more than your gym-neighbour bargained for.
But there’s a new contender when it comes to the all-important active-wear check-list that goes far beyond squat-proof, but one that is just as important!
Companies all across the globe are popping up with their sustainable fitness and eco-friendly workout gear with brands highlighting organic or locally sourced materials; embracing the innovation side by creating their products from discarded plastic bottles; combatting unsafe and unlawful working practices and labour; or by pledging percentages of their profit to relevant and sustainable charities.
There are far too many companies, to list in this post but I have shared my top faves so you can work out knowing that not only you look good, but you look even better knowing you have helped the world, one squat-proofed pair of tights at a time.
One of my favourite companies is Adrenna, whose motto is ‘the planet shouldn’t have to sweat, while you do’. Their responsible manufacturing boasts a zero-waste production with as little cut-off and therefore wasted fabric as possible. They also never mass or overproduce their lines and source their fabrics as local as possible
Flip the Dog is another one I love – they are a UK yoga pant company whose love of all things wellbeing with a hint of fun and sass helped them create their sustainable products using discarded plastic water bottles.
Shaking things up by using discarded coffee from local coffee shops, Sundried has created a range of fast-drying, sweat-wicking and de-ordorising activewear that has taken the eco-friendly active world by storm.
Natatio Swimwear are a high performance sports swimwear brand that fuse contempoary style with ENCONYL® a 100% regenerated nylon fibre made from fishing nets. An average of 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are dumped into our ocean and cause threats to the marine life. Natatio are creating a simple and playful solution to this otherwise useless material.
Another swimwear brand that creates their beautiful products from discarded materials is Stay Wild Swim (coming soon) created by fitness influencer Zanna Van Dijk and Natalie Glaze that not only use regenerated ocean plastic but are created in the heart of London cutting down on air shipping miles.
RE-USE ME BABY
This one is as old as time itself but somehow got lost along the way and I for one am glad to see it making it’s awaited comeback.
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things that you need to do when working out, but it shouldn’t have to be at the cost of the earth and just by making one simple switch we can save thousands of plastic bottles ending up in landfills and more shockingly the ocean each year.
There are plenty of refillable and re-useable water bottles that are functional, stylish and perfect to pop in your gym bag, have on your desk, take for a walk. Legit just marry it and keep it by your side 24/7. It is honestly one of the best and most simple investments you can make.
S’ip by S’well, and BKR are my two current go-to re-usable brands but I will be doing a full feature on the best re-usable bottles so keep your eyes peeled for that one.
BREAK UP WITH THE GYM
It’s time to say goodbye to the gym, and hello to nature’s playground and sustainable fitness tips and tricks.
Gyms spend thousands of pounds a year lighting, powering and keeping their spaces cool, ventilated and trainable putting a major strain on the power sources and contributing to the ever-growing air-pollution.
But there are other ways to ensure your training is more sustainable:
– Run, jog, walk, hike, cycle. Whatever your normal gym-vice – just take it to the streets instead.
– Use your own body weight to workout at home.
– Find out if there are any local outdoor classes taking place. Parks, beaches and fields are all becoming hotspots for workout classes.
PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
Just like with the activewear, companies around the world are creating sustainable trainers and studio shoes to help you put your best foot forward in your workouts and taking those small, but all important steps forward to saving the planet.
Without compromising the functionality of the shoe, these brands are making huge waves in their eco-efforts.
Adidas, which is a brand heavily featured in my workout wardrobe has turned their hand at ethical clothing by updating their running shoe with a parley upped made with recycled ocean plastic.
Emma Watson’s vegan trainer appearel company Veja sustainably source their honestly transparant materials to create their range of activewear you can actually get active in.
As the fitness world took its intense upward spike, so did the protein powders, convenience bars and pre and post drinks alongside it. With more brands coming out your ears than sweat down your face, it’s difficult to not be tempted into their ease, simplicity and clever sales pitches.
But do your research before you buy. A lot of protein companies use chemically or genetically modified ingredients in their products putting a strain on the earth’s resources and food supply, and the discarding of protein product packaging is just as harmful as the plastic bottle fiasco we were talking about earlier.
Look for brands who are introducing refillable products with sustainable, recyclable and compostable packaging such as KIN Nutrition, or brands that use alternative protein sources such as Eat Grub’s cricket protein powder, one of the most sustainable sources of animal protein and loved across the world (and also by a lot of vegetarians and vegans, weirdly). Or create your own protein products with ingredients you already have in your pantry to avoid food waste and without having to discard of the additional packaging. I have created my top five protein ball recipes which you can see here.
So, whatever workout you do and wherever you do it just try and do it as sustainable and earth-friendly as possible. The world and the generations to come thank you.