The two girls behind Twice the Health, Emily and Hannah are mega challenge enthusiasts on a mission to conquer the wonders of the world, fuelled by their foodie fascinations. TTH will also be taking part in a Q&A at the HBCxMeet Bloggers & Brands Networking Event on June 24th (Get tickets). Guided by grins and living by the mantra ‘the burpee is always better when buddy’d up’, we caught up with the delightful duo to find out about overcoming obstacles, finding motivation and running 50km along the Great Wall of China!

What was your motivation for starting a fitness blog?

Motivation came from the marathon itself, set right in the heart of our new found home: London. With just 12 weeks to go we secured a spot to run the 26.2 miles, and with so much of the city to explore it was an opportunity we simply couldn’t turn down. We began to talk about and track our journey from 5k to 42k, exploring foods to fuel and flaws we suffered right up to the big day. We became proud of the fascination people found in our fun, and so worked to grow our mini brand. The motivation has never been the problem, it’s the miles than tend to challenge.

What does being ‘healthy’ mean to you?

Healthy to us means being happy, well and active. Your health is nothing without your happiness. If you’re dieting, miserable and constantly exhausted, no matter how ‘lean’ you are you’re not healthy. Health is made up three components: social, physical and mental. Social health is dining with your friends, enjoying an occasional glass of wine and always finishing the event with a slice of cake.Physical health is about your body being its best, not aesthetically but athletically. It’s being able to run for the bus, skip up the stairs and conquer the mountain feeling strong and sure that your body can handle whatever life throws. Mental health is being proud of the body you work for, and challenged by tasks that take up your day.Life is not meant to be easy. There’s struggles with work, niggles with time management and rocky roads with relationships but being able to approach these problems with a positive mental attitude is what makes your lifestyle a healthy one.

“Your health is nothing without your happiness. “

Last year you ran around the Grand Canyon – what was your motivation for this?

We previously hiked a shorter trail, and despite still standing by it being our toughest challenge yet, we reached the top both desperate to return and run it! There’s no denying the hike was tough (especially for H), but with no real training it was to be expected. Perhaps it was our bodies’ way of telling us we could do better, if only we set the challenge and this time round prepared properly.

Can you tell us the obstacles you faced and how you overcame them?

First up is the obvious, fatigue. No matter what any endurance runner tells you, there are moments within a long race when you question not only your sanity but your strength. There’s no doubt it’s a mind over matter feat. If you begin convincing yourself you can, you will. The legs will ache, the body will feel — that’s the nature of putting your body through such challenges — but that fatigue is temporary and we promise it won’t last forever! Next up would be the training. It’s time consuming, it’s knackering, it’s tough but it’s also the most rewarding journey you will ever take yourself on. Think of the hours as time dedicated to bringing the best of you to the table, and we promise there will be plenty of time to catch up on the missed G+T’s post challenge. You may even feel better for missing them!

What are the key things to consider when setting a huge fitness goal like this?

When taking on a big challenge such as this there are a number of sensible things to consider of course, such as health risks, costs and ‘do-ability’. But if you ask us, before all of this you need to consider the most important thing… YOU. Why are you doing this? Is it because you want to, or is it because you feel you should? Is it because you have the desire to challenge yourself or is it because someone else believes you should? Are you proving something to yourself or someone else? When setting yourself a big fitness goal, the priority must always be you. This is what will provide you with the drive and determination you need to achieve it.

“When setting yourself a big fitness goal, the priority must always be you.”

Why do you think it’s important to have progress related goals rather than aesthetic ones?

Aesthetic goals are great short term, but often (not always but often) they are not maintainable. Progress related goals are ones you can keep building on, keep improving and forever strive towards. If you’re goal is to run 5k this summer, push for 10km next summer. This achievement of making what you once thought impossible possible is unlike any other, and it will only encourage you to continue this progression, becoming prouder of your body each and every time. Hey, you may even achieve your aesthetic goals along the way!Which of the current health and fitness trends do you think are here to stay?

#StrongnotSkinny — Girls are finally proud of the strong bodies they are building and they’re not afraid to show a bit of muscle. This is something we strongly support; we could not be bigger backers of this movement.

Have you come across any fitness trends that you think are not so healthy?

Skinny/detox tea! We’re not a fan of meal replacement shakes/bars, let alone calorie free teas. We don’t think food should ever be ‘replaced’ (unless medically suggested). Many teas include laxatives or a mix of plants and herbs which cause a laxative effect, therefore leading to short term weight loss, but the question has to be, at what cost to your health does this come at? Your liver is an incredible organ as long as you keep it healthy by nourishing it with a balanced diet and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption. Abiding by these simple rules results in a natural daily detox, removing the need for any extra ‘help’.

What are your favourite ways to work out?

Right now? Run run run! It’s a secret we’re sometimes afraid to share, but there have been periods of our training where we’ve fallen out of love with hitting the roads. No matter how much you love something, there are bound to be hiccups in any relationship and there’s certainly been a few bumps in the road with our running. Saying that, right now we are all loved up (and laced up), exploring the city by foot whenever we get the chance. The brighter weather helps, but in all honestly we think it’s all down to the excitement. Bring on the wall!

And finally, what is your big challenge for 2017?

That  big challenge is imminent; this week we’ll be running 50km along the Great Wall of China!