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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Get Bikini-Ready [And a Giveaway]

   Bikini season.

   I know, it doesn't look hopeful, does it? In fact the last thing I think of doing when looking out of the window at a scene like that is prance around semi-naked. But though bikini season seems like it's an age away, now is when we really have to think about it. Because now it's bikini-body building season.

   If you're planning on hitting the beaches this July, now is when you want to start putting effort into that bikini body, whether you need to shed a few pounds or just tone up. Few figures survive through the winter, after all, and by the time bathing suits start towering over you in shop windows, the idea of squeezing into them or, worse, bulging out of them, can be an extremely intimidating thought. So, the solution: get a head start.

   I've gathered some really useful advice and tips for shedding fat to get bikini-ready, or just to tone up to rock your swim suit, and I'm especially excited to offer an amazing competition from MET-Rx to supplement your work and help you reach your goals.
   In the two posts I've talked about the best and easiest way to lose fat in time for summer, including exercise structure, workouts, and eating - and it's not complicated - and also the best way to get an already slim body in perfect condition for the beach.

   But, perhaps you're not interested in beach holidays, perhaps you'd rather hit the slopes. I know I prefer being cold, it's easier to warm up than it is to cool down - there are only so many layers you can take off before someone calls the police - so I would rather ski than head to the beach. But even in that case, if you're not used to physical work, skiing isn't just a matter of standing on flat sticks and sliding down a hill. There's a lot of control involved in your core and your legs, and building your strength and endurance - with resistance and cardio, respectively - will help your body prepare, and that means you'll get more enjoyment out of the vacation. In which case, both articles will contain useful information.

   Now for the giveaway! While whole food is the best place to start, supplements can really give your results a boost. A pre-workout drink with a good dose of caffine can help to give your energy a boost before you get started, unlocking more power for your workout and helping you achieve a few more reps or sets, and a tasty vanilla protein shake is great post-workout if you've not got anything else in the house. It's a quick dose of 40g protein in a sweet shake that can feel almost like a naughty indulgence if it's a flavour you love, and if you mix it up before your workout and keep it in the fridge, it gets the chance to thicken up a bit and you'll be grateful for the chill.
   MET-Rx have provided a MET-Rx Shaker bottle, MET-Rx lkg Complete 4 -In-1 strawberry shake, MET-Rx 510g fruit crush Supreme Pre Workout Powder, MET-Rx 1kg vanilla Supreme Whey shake, 60 triple Omega 3-6-9 soft gels and BCAA's for one lucky winner to help them get undeniably bikini-ready. The product bundle has been compiled to help give a pre-workout energy boost, help with post-workout recovery and improve lean muscle. Then there's the addition of Omega 3 which is one of the fats most people lack, as it's found mostly in nuts and fish, two foods that are more popularly disliked than their counterparts, such as fruit and chicken respectively. This fat is essential for your heart and your brain, and it's proven to aid weight-loss as by simply ensuring you're getting the nutrient will help your body function better, and a properly functioning body will respond better to exercise and the right food, allowing better nutrient absorption and cardiovascular and muscular activity (ie, being able to start and complete your cardio and resistance training with a little more ease).

To enter, use the raffle copter widget below; open to residents of the EU only.

Terms & Conditions: the giveaway is open to residents of Europe only, due to the cost and difficulty of shipping such big, heavy products outside of the EU. The competition runs from April 28th to May 13th and the winner will be contacted privately via the email address that will be linked to the entries (either email or facebook-registered email). The winner will have 72 hours from contact to respond and accept their prize. If the winner fails to respond within those 72 hours, they will be notified of failure to accept and a new winner will be chosen. This page will update when the winner has accepted their prize. The prizes were donated by MET-Rx and no payment has been received to host the giveaway. All words are my own, including the two linked articles.

Get Bikini-Ready - Tone Up

   If your journey to getting bikini-ready consists of the need to tone up, then you've got an easier job ahead of you than the rest of us, even if you've not done it before.
   Toning up consists mostly of resistance training to create a lean and shapelu physique, because curves aren't made with fat, they're made with muscle. So if you want a round rear, a narrow waist and killer back, then you need to start lifting, pushing and pulling.

Resistance Training
   Resistance training is your friend. First of all, you cannot get bulky by using weights by accident. It takes such an enormous amount of work and dedication for women to build bulk - seriously, you'd need to live in the weight room - and for many women it simply can't happen because their bodies don't work that way. It takes testosterone to build muscles, and women have only 10% of the testosterone that men do. As a result, weights and resistance training make women lean, not big.
   But don't think the only way to do this is by using hand weights, barbells or kettlebells. Your own body weight is just as effective. Pilates is a form of resistance training and it uses your own body weight as a tool. If you've never tried it then you might look at it thinking it looks awfully easy and probably quite ineffective. Well, wait until you do give it a go. It's intense.
   Resistance workouts are easier to come by than cardio, and it's easier to do without a DVD, too. If you're doing cardio for a set amount of time, it's easy to get lazy and slow yourself down to cheat the time, but resistance tends to be counted by reps instead, making it harder to cheat, and with resistance, the slower you move, the more muscle fibres you engage, and the more effective it is.

   There are so many different kinds of resistance workouts you can try - there's barre, yoga, pilates, weights, body bands - and there's a lot of sources you can get the workouts from. There are DVDs, some of which I've reviewed and you can find in my Fitness Archive page under 'DVD Reviews', but the majority that I've used have been from websites and magazines. My favourite DVD was Cassey Ho's Pop Pilates, and my favourite book is also one of her's - Hot Body Year Round. But while Cassey is my go-to for pilates - she also has great workouts for free on her website and Youtube channel - Pinterest is also full of amazing and free workouts. Just type what you want, such as 'barre workout', and you'll be greeted by absolutely loads of different compilations from Skinny Mom, Fitness Magazine and countless other fitness websites and bloggers. In truth, if you're looking to get fit for free, Pinterest is your best friend as far as workouts go. Though I'd take nutrition pins with a pinch of salt; a lot of people will claim that fat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, raw, etc is what makes a healthy diet, and that's only true if you're lactose-intolerant, have Coeliac's or a gluten intolerance, or some kind of bowel disorder. For the rest of us, they're gimmicks that don't actually help.

   Speaking of food, if you're looking to get lean and toned, it's important to ensure you're getting enough of the right stuff to keep the fat off, and help refuel and repair your body after your workouts.
   Protein is essential post-workout as it helps your body to rebuild the muscles. Resistance training makes tiny tears in the muscle, and it's when your body repairs them that you get stronger and leaner. Protein helps to reproduce cells and fix the tears, it's a natural process and not one that will make you bulky, either. But if you're working out for the first time, you may also find that you're a little more hungry; this is because you're using more energy. To avoid putting on any weight, the protein also helps to keep you full so you don't undo your hard work with a packet of crisps.
   Carbs are also important post-workout. It's all well and good to give your body the protein it needs to repair the muscles, but not if you don't give it the energy. Carbs are not your enemy, you're not going to get fat from eating them unless you're overeating empty carbs like chocolate, cakes, biscuits - the good stuff in life that should be taken in moderation. Good carbs, like fruit and grains, are essential. Your brain needs 130g of carbs just to function properly.

The Rest of the Day
   As with trying to lose weight, it's important to ensure you have a healthy, balanced diet. That means you need protein, fats, carbs and fibre, and a variety of fruit and veg a day.
   Protein will keep you full and prevent hunger pangs, and should be consumed at most meals. You can get it from eggs at breakfast, or by adding chia seeds or protein powder to your porridge (I make mine with just strawberry whey powder and whole grain rolled oats), and you can get it from chicken, eggs, fish and so on at lunch and dinner. Lean meats such as poultry are best as they tend to have less saturated fat than beef or pork, making them a much richer source of protein and allowing you to keep easier track of fat intake. As for snacks, you can find it in almonds - incidentally also the most nutrient-dense nuts there are - and seeds.
   Fats are also found in nuts and seeds, as well as olives, avocados, salmon and so on, all of which contain different kinds of fats, all of which we need and can help keep weight off.
   Carbs are essential, they're your body's preferred source of energy because they're absorbed into your body faster than any other macro nutrient, and if you're exercising, you can't afford to skimp on them. Like I said: carbs are not your enemy. Like fats, carbs have an unfair reputation. If you take in too much of them - just like if you take in 'too much' of anything - it won't be good for you, but it's also because carbs include cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pasta and so on, which are called refined carbs. These are the things that will cause you to gain weight, and while you don't have to avoid them - I think I'd die if I cut them out of my diet - they have to be taken in moderation. If you have a sweet tooth, try strawberries, or apple and cinnamon, not sweets.

Salt & Water Retention
   But if you're trying to get a flat tummy and tone up nicely, you'll want to watch your salt and water. Don't eat salt-flavoured foods, and don't add salt to your food. It's not good for you anyway, but the salt is one cause of water-retention which can make you feel bloated. The water thickens the space between your skin and your muscles, and it can be mistaken as spontaneous fat because that's where the fat would go. But don't panic! Fat won't appear overnight like that; if it seems that way, it's just water, or it's in your head because you're looking too close.
   Water-retention is when your body simply retains water. Salty foods can make you thirsty, and it also causes your body to hoard water. It sounds backwards: your body is holding on to all the water it can, but you're thirsty? Well, salt draws out water, which will make you dehydrated. But because water is absolutely essential for every single bodily function and chemical reaction therein, your body panics and holds on to as much as it can so you don't dehydrate.
   This can also happen if you've not eaten salt, you've just not drank enough, and the solution to both causes is the same: drink water. That might also seem backwards. Your body is bloated because it's hoarding water, so you should drink more water to get rid of it? Yes. Because when your body knows you're giving it more water, it will stop keeping such a tight hold on the rest and you'll return to normal.

   Don't bother. You'll read time and time again that a detox is the key to a flat stomach, but it just isn't. Don't buy into the images you see on advertisements, they're put there to get you to buy, and as for Instagram posts, many are sponsored by the companies, and others are from people who were already fit and are imagining their results.
   Juice cleanses are useless; they're fruit juices without the fruit, so you're getting all the carbs without the fibre, which is also where most of the nutrients are, and juice cleanses that encourage you to replace meals with them are even worse because then you're not getting enough of anything else. Smoothies may contain the fibre of the fruit, but you still need the other food groups.
   Teatoxes are even worse; they're filled with diuretics which will cause you to lose water, some even cause a laxative effect, and if you read the instructions, you'll find that, for them to 'work', you have to avoid a lot of essential parts of your diet.
Don't buy into detoxes
   The fact is, your liver is responsible for removing the toxins from your body, and it does it damned well. So the best thing you can do is help your liver by looking after it and not taking in the toxins in the first place, which includes smoking, alcohol, caffeine, etc.
   There are a few things that can help a flat stomach, and Jillian Michaels' 'detox' drink (yes, I am aware of what I'm saying) works. Lemon juice helps digestion, cranberries are little superfruits, and dandelion helps to flush out excess water without causing water retention. You make it yourself, it's cheap, it's easy, and the 3 ingredients, depending on how many lemons you buy, can make lots of bottles.

   Again, you don't have to break the bank to get bikini-ready. You can get fit for free by using pinterest or youtube and your own body weight, and as for eating, you don't need to buy lots of special 'health' foods or gimmicky products like 'teatoxes' - in fact they can often cause more harm than good. If it's come out of nowhere and suddenly everywhere, odds are it's not actually any good.
   Just be sure to give your body the fuel and nutrients it needs, don't under-feed it, especially if you're trying to tone up and create wonderful curves, and give it the chance to recover between workouts. Try focusing on your upper body one day, and lower body the next. This gives your upper body at least 48 hours to recover before it's worked again, meaning the muscles can repair themselves and you'll avoid injury, and injury will only hinder your progress.

Get Bikini Ready - Shed The Fat

   If, like me, you want to shift the pounds to get bikini-ready, you're going to need to work at it. It's a slightly tougher job than just toning up, but that doesn't mean it's even remotely impossible, and doesn't require an hour of cardio twice a day, every day, and certainly not starving yourself. It's actually quite easy when it comes down to it - the hard part is getting your brain on your side. You just have to remind yourself that it is mind over matter.

Exercise Structure
   The best and most proven way to shed fat is to do a mixture of both resistance training and cardio, in the same session. By starting your workout (after a dynamic warm up, of course) with 20 minutes of resistance training, you can use up the energy in your muscles without wearing yourself out, and then move on to cardio and still give it your all.
   Why? Well, your body won't start burning fat until the glycogen (blood sugar; energy) in your body is used up, and this takes about 20 minutes, so jumping right in with cardio can be kind of useless. Starting with cardio will use the energy, certainly, but it will also exhaust you, meaning you'll be unable to continue as effectively after those initial 20 minutes. By starting with resistance, however, you can use up the energy in your muscles without getting out of breath or your heartrate going through the roof. You'll be tired, yes, but it's a different kind of tired, and one that will pass very quickly. It also means that, by the time you've finished your resistance session, you'll be starting cardio with your body already in fat-burning mode, meaning you'll be able to put in great effort, as if you've only just started your workout, but really reap the benefits.
   Not only that, but building lean muscle - and remember, resistance training won't make you bulky - also means that your body uses energy and burns calories more efficiently, and also increases your metabolism to meet the increased demand. You continue burning calories after your workout as your body repairs from the resistance training, and because denser muscles require a little more energy to complete every action, be it in your workout or just sweeping the floor, which means you'll be using more calories even hours after your workout, and on a rest day.
   And, finally, curves don't come from fat, it comes from muscle. Fatty curves are more like bulges and you can't control where they go, whereas muscle results in rounded bums, narrow waists, coconut shoulders and fabulous thighs which you can certainly target and work on.

   Kettlebell and kickboxing workouts are great fat-burners, and you don't need to go to any classes. There are countless DVDs available, and I've reviewed a few right here, which you can find in my Fitness Archive under 'DVD Reviews'. But Youtube is also full of free workouts, and there are countless websites out there - I love, and I've used a number of their workouts with great results. So if you'd rather not spend a penny to get in shape - because you really don't have to - these kinds of websites are a great resource.

   Eating also matters, especially right after your workout. If you're combining resistance and cardio, you'll definitely want both carbs and protein. The best source is a chicken sandwich with wholemeal bread, but that's not always practical, so you can turn to protein shakes. I do when I've got nothing in the cupboards or the fridge, and there's nothing at all wrong with them. They typically contain whey protein, which comes from milk, and animal products like dairy are the second best source of protein - the first is animals themselves, such as meat and eggs. Protein shakes are available in all kinds of flavours and are typically about 100-150 kcals each with around 20g of protein and no sugar. I usually accompany my protein shakes with a piece of fruit which provides fibre and carbs.

The Rest of the Day
   Outside of your workout, you don't need to starve yourself. There's a very good phrase popping up lately, and it's 'don't eat less, eat better'. Counting calories made a huge difference for me - it might not be fun, but it helped me get my eating under control and I saw the biggest results when I made that change. And you might also see mention of keeping a food journal. That doesn't mean writing what you ate, where you had it, who you were with and whether it was nice or not, it's just keeping a note of everything you eat when you eat it, because it's a great way of finding out where you're slipping up, such as when you start picking at things. I used to sneak a single biscuit at random on an afternoon when I wasn't even hungry - often, in fact, after I had just eaten - and perhaps a single chocolate on an evening, but the thing is that both of those in a single day have contributed on average 150 calories that I've not counted into my day, and were both also a source of refined sugar.
   No, don't deny yourself a treat, restrictive diets are proven not to work, but doing it on a daily basis and then turning a blind eye to it is the source of much damage, especially for me. Keeping note of what I eat made me realise when I did it because I was ashamed each time I wrote it down, and that really stopped me from doing it.

   Try for 1,500 calories a day. This is typically all you need, and if you're overweight, this change alone will really help to shed fat. You don't need to go hungry, either. 'Snack' isn't a dirty word. Instead, try to eat 5 or 6 times a day, at evenly spaced intervals, with no more than 400 calories in one sitting. This will enable your body to use the fuel you give it, rather than use some of it and store the rest because you gave it too much. And you may feel hungry initially, but it's highly likely to be in your head due to:
- habit (eating less frequently than you're used to)
- thinking about food, perhaps clock-watching for your next feeding time (I'm very guilty of this)
- having unhealthy food in view, such as a chocolate bar on an open shelf
   If you feel hungry between allocated times, have a glass of water instead. It might sound silly, but your body displays the need for food and the need for water in the same way. "What if I am hungry?" You might say. Well, have the glass of water and wait 25 minutes. If you're still feeling bad, you may well be hungry, but if it was just thirst then by that point you'll have forgotten all about it. I didn't believe this would work when I first read it, but I tried it and it did! It's easy to drink 2 litres of water a day this way, and it stops me from eating when I don't need to. Drink plain water, fruit-infused water and green, fruit or herbal tea, rather than soda, juice or squash, as these are just sugar - even straight up fruit juice is missing all the fibre of the fruit itself, so don't drink more than one of these a day.

What To Eat
   Try to ensure you get frequent doses of protein - meat, eggs, fish, but also nuts like almonds, or by adding plant-based protein like moringa into recipes. Protein takes longer to digest and really helps to keep you full and stave off hunger pangs. Vegetables are high in fibre, so get lots of those, too, because that also keeps you full. But don't skimp on carbs; you need 130g of carbs a day just for your brain to work, so if you're working out or have a job that keeps you on your feet, you especially can't skimp. I learned that the hard way; I reduced my carbs to about 100g a day and did 40 minutes of cardio a day. I couldn't think after that, my mind wandered, I got no work done, and, worst of all, I lost no weight because my body clung on to everything to try to meet present and future demands on rations.

Replacing the Bad Stuff
   First of all, if you don't have it, you can't eat it. This goes both ways: if you don't buy unhealthy snacks, you can't eat them, so find willpower for the hour a week you do the weekly shop not to pick much of it up, and then you won't have to worry about finding the will power through the rest of the week not to eat it.
   But it also means that if you don't have healthy snacks, you can't reach for those, either. So instead of picking up nothing to nibble on when hunger comes knocking, pick up something healthy, like a bag of mixed fruit or nuts, a box of Nakd bars, etc. Just remember: just because it's healthy, doesn't mean you can stuff your face with it.

   If you eat sugar often, or fried foods, or anything you know is bad for you, try replacing a few each day with something else. Find healthy snacks you'll enjoy - these days, it doesn't have to be an apple - and you'll find you won't miss the other stuff as much. I love BEAR fruit yoyos, Nakd fruit bars, Trek flapjacks, Oloves, Bounce nut and seed balls; they truly are delicious, and as they're often made with a combination of fruits, nuts and seeds, they're all available in a variety of flavours. Even rhubarb and custard. And, no, while many fruit bars are made with dates, you don't taste them at all. Trust me, I hate dates, but I love Nakd bars.
   The more often you eat sugar, the more you crave it. You don't end cravings by giving in to them, you only feed them and make them stronger. I've found that it takes me, personally, 3 days to get off of sugar. It's hard, but after 3 days of minimal to no refined sugar, suddenly I don't think about it any more. Just remember that you can get 'sweet' in other ways. Fruit is very sweet, for example, and every time I have a strawberry yoyo I find myself thinking "why do I never think of this when I crave sugar?" Probably because it's not sugar I craved, but something 'bad'.

   You don't have to break the bank to lose weight, not at all. Healthy snacks don't have to be expensive, and if you make them yourself which can be a lot of fun, it's even cheaper - not to mention that you can cater to taste preferences and allergies.
   It's also not tough to make food from scratch, so if you buy pre-made or ready meals, try replacing a few with something you made yourself. This doesn't have to take long if you make them in advance, either; make your own marinades and keep crushed nuts and herbs and spices in your cupboard, and in the morning you can throw some raw chicken into a bowl of marinage and refridgerate it through the day, and then put it in the oven in the evening.
   You can find so many free workouts online - just browse pinterest and you'll find countless. I've got a pretty big fitness board myself, with workouts I want to try, workouts I have tried, and pins I've collected specifically for the benefit of others, including beginners.
   I hope some of this helps!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Kettlercise Lean In 14 - 2 Weeks Later

   I didn't really expect much of a difference between Lean in 14 and any other kettlebell workout when I started it this month. After all, pretty much every kettlebell-focused exercise program involves using one move for a set number of reps or time, and they've always been really effective. So imagine my surprised when I was greeted with 'complexes' in this Kettlercise workout.

   I'd say 'compound' but that doesn't really do it. Most kettlebell moves are compound moves, utilising a number of different muscle groups at once. Instead, these 'complexes' are just that: complex. You learn a move and perform it for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, then learn another and do it for another minute or two, then go back and do them together. Then another move, and then another, until you're performing 4 different moves consecutively, one after the other. It's tough, and you really do have to think about it and fight to get it right.
   But these complexes aren't in every workout. The beginner disc has 2 workouts, and it's only in the second workout that you're introduced to complexes, and while you do still have to think about them, they're a combination of much simpler moves.
   The intermediate disc is much the same, with complexes only occurring in the second workout, but they're harder moves, whereas on the advanced disc, there are complexes in both of the workouts and they're tougher because of their more advanced single moves.

   All in all, it's pretty intense, but surely effective. By having to think about the combination as much as I do, I avoid muscle memory. I've said before that I know my way around a kettlebell, and while that means I can use heavier weights, go faster and so on, it also means that it's not as effective as it once was. But because kettlebells are so effective - generally compound moves that are also explosive, involving great cardio and resistance at the same time - I never considered the possibility of moves being stacked up like that.

   The program is called 'Lean in 14', but I've not actually weighed or measured myself yet, and if I'm honest I don't plan to until the end of the month, so I can't say whether these past 2 weeks have been particularly more effective than usual or not, but even if I did get the numbers, I'd have nothing to compare it to. So instead I'll stick to the usual 4 weeks before giving any verdict. At least there I can offer some more reliable insight. But beyond that, I will say that my rear, upper back and hips seem to have changed - whether I'm just imagining it, I don't know, but all the fat left on my body seems to be at the top of my inner thigh, top of my arms and down the front of my tummy, so I like to think that if I was going to imagine any changes, I would be imagining them there.

   But I have enjoyed it so far. I love kettlebells, and I actually look forward to workouts like these. I'm not a cardio bunny; I love getting sweaty but I hate jumping, running and all that. I prefer to focus and lift. I don't know why, it's just what I prefer, and it's come in handy when I'm looking after my mum. Sitting in a wheelchair all the time, she's understandably heavier than other people. But obviously I need the cardio as well if I'm going to burn fat, and this is a great way of getting them both in together without really noticing it as much.

   As ever, I'll be back in 2 weeks!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Fantastic Fantasy Inspired Interiors

   So, fantasy is my world, right? I mean, I live it, breathe it; fitness is a bit of an obsession, but even that passion has a firm foot in fantasy. I imagine myself doing all kinds of crazy things while working out, even when it isn't a Darebee workout. It also has a tendency to slip into my writing, in fact; certain respectful movements cultures make, meditation of certain faiths and, more obviously, fighting, it's all written from physical experience.
   When I've got the time and the space, I want to make my home a fantasy haven. It simply will happen. It can't go any other way, and with Seeg being just as obsessed with fantasy as me (though he's not as cool because he doesn't imagine himself as a mage or a wondering duelist while working out), it would only be encouraged.
   But while that means I'd love to completely reconstruct walls and rooms to fit this, that just isn't possible right now. This is on my mind so often it's almost sad.
   However, that just makes it all the more exciting for me to have Chloe Taylor take over my blog today! She's quite simply awesome: art historian, recreational ballet dancer and geek. She's my kind of girl, and she also has a passion for interior design. She's a regular writer for Smooth Decorator but she's taken a moment to write the following post just for us! So if you want to indulge your need to express your love for fantasy and gaming in your home, Chloe has provided us with a few different means, from simple products and DIYs, right down to inspiration for completely redecorating your home. I will certainly be answering the call.

   While some like to believe that being a fantasy enthusiast is a hobby, in truth it is more of a lifestyle. Whether the main reason for this is some sense of high adventure or an escape into the fantasy world, from time to time you might feel the need to transfer a bit of this magic into a real life. This is when things get really interesting. For example, you can always design your home to match your favorite fantasy franchise or just optimize it to be “geek-friendly”. Regardless of what you decide to go for, here are some ideas for the ultimate fantasy-inspired interiors.

Gaming Den

   Gamers of the world unite, no matter if you are a console fan or a member of the glorious PC master race, since everyone can use a genuine gaming den every now and then (rhyme intended). Here, you naturally need to place your monitor (or monitors) as a focal point of the room and orient all the rest towards it. What you need to do is to follow pretty much the same principles if you were to build a home theatre. The walls should be of nonreflecting color which means that black dark burgundy or dark red. Most of your budget should be appointed towards getting the right seating and a portable fridge should always be close by. When you come to think about it, this is probably the only proper way to play Skyrim or The Witcher 3.

Going for the right theme

   Although it is true that golden days of World of Warcraft (TBC and WotLK) are forever gone, this doesn’t mean that WoW is going to be surpassed as an MMO anytime soon. So, why not transfer a bit of this enthusiasm in your bedroom as well?

   You can start by putting a horde or alliance (if you are that kind of person) emblem onto the wall just to set off on the right foot.  Furthermore, you can get someone to paint your walls into World of Warcraft landscapes or even do it on your own if you have that kind of an artist in you. As a final touch, with a lot of work and will, you can even dress your chair to look like the Frozen Throne (or the closest thing you can get to it). 

Big Screen of Silver Screen Fantasy

   Gaming is not the only source of fantasy and some people draw their inspiration from big screen of silver screen. Here of course the flagships of the genre, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, play the most prominent roles. As of late and Peter Jackson's revamping of the genre, dressing your room as a Hobbit hole is getting more and more popular amongst the fans. Simply, go for as much wood and vintage furniture as you can (even if it means restoring some of your old one) and add a cozy rug to wrap things up

   Another crucial theme for this genre is that you go full elven in your design, which usually means two things. First one is that white should always be your predominant color, and second that silky-curtains and branch and half-moon motifs should be everywhere.

   As for the Game of Thrones, the optimal solution would be to choose a noble house you want to swear your allegiance to and dress up your room in their colors. This means that you can go grey, white and light blue for Stark and gold and crimson for Lannister. Also, going with natural materials like teak, hardwood and even wool will always look Westerosi. Last but not the least important, if you are a huge Tyrell fan, don’t forget to enhance your room with a multitude of floral motifs or even some fresh flowers (if the season is right).

Futuristic Motifs

   Sure, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones work just fine for some people, but not everyone is a fan of fantasy. Some people simply prefer Sci-Fi to it. For starters, if you are not that much into distant future you can always go for something similar to a Back to the Future (which as of late may also be counted as an alternate history). Still, what most people go for are either Star Wars or Star Trek inspired rooms. Luckily, all of these franchises are so popular that it is not that hard finding furniture and accessories made in this manner for your room. On the other hand, DIY is always more fun, so you might decide to customize some of your already existent furniture in order to make it more Sci-Fi-like.

   For Star Wars, you have two major themes, light and dark side. The most obvious room color choices are light or dark blue with star-like wall ornaments to further enhance the impression of space. Furthermore, you can always put in some more effort and disguise your bed to seem as a Star Wars vessel, speeder or even imperial walker. Finally, you can easily dress your teddy bear into a genuine Ewok and in this way make the impression that your room makes complete.

   As you can see, your options are quite numerous and all that is left for you to do is decide on what kind of design would suit you the most. Once you have that covered, you need to compose a thorough plan and then spring into action to make it all come true. Some items you need to be on lookout for, some you will have to make and sometimes you will just have to improvise. This, however, is where the real fun begins...

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