A Former Couch Potatoes’ Guide to the Fitness Influx

I feel like in recent years, the fitness industry has been able to reach many people both online and in circles around me. As someone who dreaded PE at school and just about exercised once a week I wondered if this was due to the fact that our metabolisms all begin to slow so we might not be able to take as much advantage of Dominos ‘Two for Tuesday’ or if there was more to it?


At the start of my placement year I decided to try a personal training gym that happened to be on the end of the street I had moved to. I booked a consultation and signed up for four weeks with the intention of quitting after because I would probably hate it. Thirteen months on I continue to train three to four times a week and love it.

So, here’s what I’ve learnt.

You can do more than you ever thought you could. I found that I was surprised that I could lift weights that I never would have imagined I could. I will never be the strongest or most athletic person in the gym but that doesn’t matter because you will only get better as time goes on. Exercising teaches you to have a little more self-belief. This then spills over into your everyday life where you challenged yourself a little more, even if it’s just with small things, and you achieve more than you were expecting. I only go for 30 minute sessions so I don’t let myself make the excuse that ‘I don’t have time.’


Exercising makes you feel good, it’s a fact! It releases endorphins which improve your mood, so even on your worst days just going for a walk helps to clear your head and regather your thoughts. I found this especially helpful when I was stressed during placement or had assignments due. It’s important to remember that sometimes taking a step away from something that you’re working on, even for 20 minutes, can help you look at it from a whole new perspective. In general, exercising helps me to have a more positive outlook on whatever I’m doing.  It’s also nice to be able to take a break from your phone for 30 minutes in the day.

It helps you meet new people. From going to the gym I’ve met so many people I never would have come across in my daily life from a range of different backgrounds. I’ve been trained by people of all ages who are cheering you on to be the best you can be while learning about each other’s lives at the same time.

Nobody is judging you. Some people fear that others are watching you while you exercise, especially if you’re only starting out, but I’ve found that this really isn’t the case. If everyone is working hard, they are generally more focused about what they’re doing rather than what you’re doing.  I have found that it is important to not get caught up with comparing yourself with others, especially online. What I’ve found works for me is following accounts in Instagram that actually inspire me rather than accounts that are simply just skinny girls. Some of my favourites include – @faisalpmafitness who promotes having a positive mental attitude and @whitneyysimmons who tries to see the good in every day along with posting short gym workout videos.


Even though going to the gym is what I enjoy I understand that it’s not for everyone. You can do anything from going for a walk with friends to ice skating, as long as you’re moving in some way, you’ll feel the benefits of it.


Benita Brown is a Final Year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations (CMPR) student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram – @benitabrown96 and LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/benita-brown-929911194/

Kevin puts on a Christmas Cracker

With Christmas sweets spotted in shops before Halloween even ended this year, are you feeling the festive fever? Christmas campaigns are also starting earlier each year and it’s getting hard to turn on the TV without being bombarded with adverts telling you how little time you have to buy presents for your loved ones and why you should buy from their store. Amidst the madness one advert in particular stood out to me, Aldi’s advert featuring Kevin the carrot.


A few weeks ago, Aldi released a very simple but effective 10 second teaser featuring the ‘Leafy Blinders.’ In the video we see a host of Brussel Sprouts, in my opinion the undisputed badies of Christmas, dressed in Peaky Blinder style flat caps. During the clip they state that they’re, ‘Here to take back Christmas, by order of the Leafy Blinders’ followed by a ripped newspaper featuring an article on Kevin. Anyone who has watched a single episode of the Peaky Blinders will see the clear resemblance to the show from the lighting to the thick accents. The teaser didn’t give much away but was enough to peak your interest.


So, what’s the craic with Kevin?

Two weeks later the full Christmas advert was released showing Kevin in all his glory. The ad starts with Kevin tided up to a grater while the Leafy Blinders heckle him, the narrator can be heard saying ‘Christmas before Kevin was all about sprouts’ which explains their anger. The whole narration of the advert is done in a rhyming style which makes it more fun. During this scene Kevin can be seen wearing a circus master’s outfit but the reason for this is still unclear. A tomato is then thrown at Kevin in a bid to harm him but in a turn of events this little tomato chews through the ropes tying Kevin up. He then thanks ‘tiny tom’ for his help. This is a well thought through character as Tiny Tom is a well-known name and obviously Tom can be short for tomato. We are also starting to see a picture being built up of the array of fruit and veg Aldi stock without even realising it.

The pair can be seen running through the snow to arrive at a beautiful circus tent where we catch another pun as Kevin tells tommy to ‘Catch up’ like ketchup. The background music starts to kick in here and we can hear the catchy tune of Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams, not your average Christmas carol but it’s guaranteed to be stuck in your head all day. There has been discussion around whether Robbie is actually singing this version, the verdict has been unsure but I think it adds to the Christmas magic to imagine that it is.


Kevin then takes the stage as PT Barnum from the film The Greatest Showman and lets us know that, ‘Sprouts are gone and Kevin’s here!’ He can be seen throughout the rest of the advert running around an abundance of festive treats from mince pies to turkey and ham while the crowds cheer in glee. This makes the consumer feel that in order to have a showstopping Christmas they need to purchase all this food to impress their guests. There is a further nod towards The Greatest Showman as a carrot, who we presume to be Kevin’s partner, wears a purple wig like Anne Wheeler in the film. Towards the end of the advert a ‘good’ Brussel sprout lands in a canon and states that, ‘it’s time to blast off,’ all these hidden jokes make the advert fun to watch for all ages. We then see the final scene of the family of carrots standing together. Aldi have done an excellent job at combining this film from popular culture into their advert and with the sparkling lights and array of food it’s hard to look away!

Upon further research into Kevin the carrot I found out that this is not his first acting debut, he has in fact been the star of Aldi’s Christmas adverts from 2016. Other adverts included big films from that year, including a remake of Murder on the Orient Express where we see Kevin fall in love with Katie. Many people feel as though they have followed Kevin through major milestones in his life and have grown to love him so last year Aldi released a range of Kevin the carrot soft toys, with plans to do the same this year. The queues were phenomenal with the toys selling out in record time and even being sold for upwards of £1000 on eBay. I think all this shows how strongly a well thought out campaign can appeal to the public as each year Aldi are essentially advertising the same products just piggybacking off the back of a popular cultural film and it has proven to be very effective. Besides at the end of the day Kevin the carrot is just a carrot.


Benita Brown is a Final Year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations (CMPR) student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram – @benitabrown96 and LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/benita-brown-929911194/