Fitness comes in different sizes

Freeing up Time – Step by Step Guide — September 4, 2017

Freeing up Time – Step by Step Guide

12 years ago I was a single mom working one full time and two part time jobs. My gorgeous toddler was in part time daycare. Every minute of my life was either mommy-time or work-time, but there just didn’t seem to be enough minutes to go around. I vividly remember one night when my two-year-old hadn’t fallen asleep despite countless good night stories. It was 9pm and he was happy and bubbly. I saw my evening schedule fly out of the window and broke down in tears. Something had to change.

While we cannot create more time, we can make conscious choices about the time we have.

That night I stayed up until 3 am, reorganising my life. What came next was wonderful: All of a sudden I had freed up time to not stress if my son didn’t fall asleep immediately. I had time to start exercising and socialising. I had time to sleep. Life, all around, became happier and easier.

Here are the steps you can take to do the same. If you read all the way (or scroll down to the end of this article) you can read what I did and how it turned out for me.

1. Make an inventory

Use a sheet of paper or spreadsheet on your computer to plot the past seven days of your life. What time did you wake up? How long did getting ready for work/school/life take? What time did you come home? What did you do between coming home and going to bed? Be honest! You don’t have to show your schedule to anybody else, this is just for you.

2. Categorise

Categorise your time

The easiest way is color coding. E.g. blue blocks for travel time, yellow for meals, green for exercise,  red for TV/Netflix, etc. Try to find common denominators and generalise where possible. E.g. breakfast, lunch and dinner can all be “meals” and meeting friends for drinks after work or having a Skype call with your childhood bestie can both be “socialising.”

3. Sum it up

Make a list of the categories in step 2, summing up how much time you spent on each activity. Don’t forget sleep time. Your total should come to 168 hours. *Sometimes we do things that fall in two different categories, e.g. ice-skating with your kids could count as both family time and exercise. In those cases, allot 50% of the time to each category, e.g. count three hours of ice-skating as 1.5 hours family time and 1.5 hours of exercise. 

4. Rate

Rate your time

Rate each activity by how much value it adds to your life. This is very personal. What rates high for me, might mean almost nothing to you and vice versa. Remember, this is about freeing up realistic time in your life! Use any scale you like; 1-10, 1-100%, but keep it numeric so that you can track your progress.

5. Add

Add things that you would like in your life that you didn’t (have time to) do last week

Did you exercise enough? Have a date (night)? Meet with friends? Organise your family photos? What’s on your “I wish I had time to…” list? Add it to your list and rate it just like you did in step 4.

6. Prioritise

Define your must do activities (e.g. sleep, work, travel time), and then rank the rest of your activities according to your results in steps 4 and 5.

7. Budget

Every week, you have 168 hours at your disposal. Allocate how much time to spend on each category next week. Be realistic. E.g. if you want to spend an hour on social media every night, budget 7 hours for that, or if you are in the middle of binge watching a TV show on Netflix with your partner, find out how many hours you have left, and budget for that, or (gasp) let him or her go on the binge without you.

8. Set a schedule

Set a schedule for the next seven days based on your time budget. Be specific. For “exercise” time slots, define what exercise you are doing. Write it down on paper, in a spreadsheet, or using a scheduling app on your phone. Make a commitment to try to follow your schedule for 7 days.

9. Bonus Time

Fortunately, even time management is not all black and white. Take advantage of combining activities to add more value to your life. E.g. jogging or biking to work to use travel time for exercise; challenging your friends at laser tag instead of meeting over wine or coffee to make social time active time; preparing food together with your kids to make food prep/household work family time. Be creative!

10. Evaluation

After seven days, evaluate your time management, and fine tune your schedule for the next seven days. Taking the time to have a schedule is a fantastic crutch when you first get started, and a helpful tool to return to every once in a while.

Repeat steps 1-3. Use your ratings from step 4 to get a numerical value of your week. After a while you will notice that there are some activities you want to add more of, and others you can cut down even further. The goal is to have as much value as possible to the 168 hours we all have to dispose of.

Be critical when you evaluate your week. Ask yourself if there is something on your “must-do” list that adds little value to you. Is there a way you could do that better? E.g. outsource that task, eliminate it altogether? Is there something else that you still want to add but haven’t found space for?

Identify and eliminate roadblocks

What’s keeping you from fulfilling your goals? Nothing to wear for your workouts? We’ve got you covered!

What I did and how it turned out (continued from the top of the page)

When I did my inventory, it came from a point of not having enough time or money, so I made an inventory and looked at what gave me money (work) and what cost me money. The one thing that stood out as costing both time and money, while adding little value was TV time. I’ve never seen myself as an avid TV watcher, but I did watch Ally McBeal on Tuesdays and Desperate Housewives on Thursdays, as well as 1 hour of news every night at 10pm. This was pre-Netflix and 24/7 internet news.

Somewhat drastically perhaps, I threw out my TV, immediately freeing up 9 hours a week, and saving on cable TV and license costs. Win-win! When you’re used to negotiating your time in minutes, getting 540 extra feels like an eternity.

What did I do with my extra time?
I started working out, expanded my social life, got a new job, and few years later started my first company. Twelve years later, I’m lucky enough to be able to call exercise work, when I test and conceive new colorful samples of Mollyhopp workout wear.


Love Your Body — September 1, 2017

Love Your Body

Your body is amazing! Think about it: it carries you through life, it wakes up every morning, converts food into energy; for most of us it walks, talks, hugs and breathes too. Every second there are a gazillion little things going on inside of you. Whether your body looks like the images in glossy magazines, or far from it, it’s more advanced than the most cutting edge computer, and it’s your permanent address here on earth.

Body Positive
To us, Body Positive means loving the body you’re in, today. Don’t put your life on hold while waiting for that “perfect body” to appear. Your perceived version of perfect might not ever come, so live today, and love your body for what it is and does today.

Body Image vs Body Love
Everybody I know suffers from a poor body image every once in a while. I go into full panic mode ahead of every photo shoot, and cringe the first 100 times I look through our portfolio. Yet here I am preaching love. Does that seem contradictory? If you separate body image from body love, and start treating love as an action instead of a feeling, it gets a lot easier. You don’t have to love your reflection every time you walk past a mirror, but you should try to love your body. That will make you feel amazing!

Love is an Action
This is true for so many aspects of life, not just loving your body. Imagine that you’re in a bad relationship. Your mind knows you’d be better off apart but you love your partner, and your other half keeps insisting that they love you, where in reality you’re only feeling a feeling, not actually loving yourselves or each other through actions. Is that really love? (Adding for clarity: the above example is for really terrible relationships, not just bad days in good ones. Think domestic abuse, Lifetime movies bad.)
If you have kids, look at your children. If you’re not a parent, think of your own relationship with your parents, or look at parents around you. Is parental love just a feeling too, or does it mean that you love your offspring through actions even when they’ve tried your temper a gazillion times?
Now try applying the same logic to your relationship with your body. Is love just being happy with your reflection, or does it run deeper? And are you in control?
How to love your body
Love your body the way a mother loves her child. Respect it for what it is, appreciate it for what it accomplishes, feed it well and keep it active. Also, don’t forget to have fun together!

By actively loving your body, you’re already half way to feeling love for it. Don’t stress if that feeling doesn’t come immediately. In the long run it’s the actions, not the feelings that count.


Focus on Running — April 17, 2017

Focus on Running

Study upon study shows that running helps us live longer, stay healthier, and elevates our mood. It makes both our muscles and our bones stronger, and it can be done without much scheduling or special equipment. What’s not to love?

Starting to run can be the deal breaker for many. Those first sessions where your legs feel like heavy logs, and you gasp for air while being overtaken by dog walkers can feel quite demoralising. But hang in there! It does get better, fast.

Walk-run-walk programs are readily available as podcasts and apps. They let you start from zero and push you towards being a proper runner within a few weeks.

What is a proper runner anyway? A runner is a person who runs. It does not matter if you are record breaking fast, or awkwardly slow. If you run you are a runner. Don’t believe me? Sign up for a race. You will see how warm and welcoming the running community is. There are runners of all ages, speeds, and sizes. Our one goal is to run faster, longer and easier than we did yesterday, last month, last year or last race.

Before my first race last year, I was petrified. I had trained for two months but knew that I wasn’t at the point of running 5K nonstop yet. I thought I would be the only person who would take walking breaks, and was well prepared to come in last among the 7,000 participants.

I wasn’t, and I didn’t, but looking back it really does not matter. Somebody will come in last at every race, and at some point that might be me. As long as I’ve put in my best effort, I will gladly accept the medal and cheers.

Things to think about whether you’re running your first or umpteenth race:

  • Listen to your body. Writing this from tropical Singapore I cannot emphasise this enough. Over-heating and dehydration need to be taken seriously. Pushing yourself is good, but always listen to your body.
  • Pace yourself. Start out slow to finish fast will usually give you a better finishing time than going all out from start.
  • The first kilometers are the toughest. Your legs may feel like lead, you may be out of breath. If you’re aiming for a personal best, you may do better by jogging 2 kilometers before flag off. Yes, this means running 7K instead of 5, or 12 instead of 10. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it often does the trick. Don’t forget to practice this before race day though.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Of course this goes for running, but don’t underestimate the small things. Practice running in your race shoes and race clothes. Practice drinking water, or sports drink, and taking gels or gummies if you’ll do that on race day. Practice in your race day socks (I’ve learned that the hard way!). Practice running on an empty stomach vs. just after breakfast if you have an early morning race. And if you’re vain, practice your victory pose for the finish line photos.
  • Celebrate your victories. When you run, you are racing against yourself. Set attainable goals, and celebrate when you reach them. For your first race it may be just facing your fears to participate, or getting through the entire distance without walking. For later races it may mean shaving minutes off your previous records, or running a new distance. Big or small, if you reach them, celebrate. Brag on social media, spoil yourself with some new gear or a massage. You did it!

Now what are you waiting for? Slip into a pair of Mollyhopp running pants (they are the most comfortable pants you have ever worn!), slip on a good pair of running shoes, and get out there. Whether you hit the treadmill, head out into the forest, or drum a beat on city pavements, you will not regret it. One of the best things about running, is the feeling right after a good run. Don’t you agree?

Body Positive Active Wear — March 27, 2017

Body Positive Active Wear

What is Body Positive? Is Mollyhopp a plus size brand?

Mollyhopp was born from my own need of cute, high quality, running and yoga clothes in sizes beyond Nike’s and Lululemon’s ranges. It was as simple as that. To me, that journey started by googling “plus size running pants,” so naturally I thought that was what we were.

Almost a year later, we have launched our first line (of AMAZING clothes and accessories), and we notice that the word plus size doesn’t really fit. For starters, our first collection start with US size 8; the average American woman is a size 16.

So we asked ourselves: should we be an “average clothes brand” instead of a “plus size” active wear brand? But that didn’t taste right either.

There is nothing average about getting up early to go for a run, about exerting yourself to be the best you can be, about fighting to get fitter and stronger. If anything, our athletes are extraordinary!

So, like goldilocks, we fell upon a term that fits us just right. Body Positive. Love the body that you have, by treating it with nutritious food, good exercise, and luxurious, sweat wicking fabrics when you work out.

As you might see, we have chosen not to photoshop any of our images, but present you with raw footage from our photo shoots. Admittedly, having an amazing photographer does wonders for presentation, but you will see bulges bumps that you might not be used to in fashion ads.

This is our way of saying that we encourage you on your fitness journey, from your first steps, and as you get stronger, fitter and faster.

Have a beautiful, active week ahead.