Is pain a feminist issue?

Is pain a feminist issue?


Research shows female and male pain are treated differently, with doctors routinely dismissing women’s pain as less serious. Rosie Mullender examines a gender bias that may be costing lives

pain

Becca Fowles was rocking back and forth, sobbing with pain, and knew something was seriously wrong. Since her periods had started at 14, they’d been heavy and intensely painful, lasting up to nine days. Her GP had told her they were normal and put her on the pill, which regulated the symptoms. But when she took a break, the pain returned with a vengeance. ‘I was 26, and had forgotten how painful my periods could be,’ says Fowles, 34, a marketing manager. ‘I started wondering, “Is this in my head? Am I making this bigger than it is?’’’ It was another year before a doctor in Japan, where she was living, diagnosed her with endometriosis – an often agonising disorder in which cells like the ones in the uterus are found elsewhere in the body.

In 2015, Fowles returned to the UK and had her first operation, which revealed scar tissue on her bladder and portions of her bowel stuck to her pelvis. After surgery, her pain worsened, but again, she was dismissed. ‘I was told, “It’ll heal, it’ll be fine,”’ she says. ‘No one thought something might have gone wrong, or that the pain could be abnormal.’ Further surgery revealed that there were patches of endometriosis growing inside her bladder. ‘I’ve had more operations since then, including a pacemaker fitted to help me urinate,’ says Fowles. ‘I still suffer from chronic pain in my hip, and there are plans for me to be given steroid injections. I wonder if my pain was taken seriously years ago, doctors could have treated me before things got so severe.’

Fowles is far from alone. On average, it takes a shocking seven and a half years for endometriosis to be diagnosed. But, as well as being a difficult disease to detect, studies show that globally women in pain are treated differently to men – a ‘gender pain gap’ that puts them at a deadly disadvantage. Worryingly, this bias, responsible for so much suffering for women with gynaecological pain, extends to other types of pain, too.

Studies have shown that women are less likely to receive painkillers, are more often misdiagnosed than men, and even female children’s pain is considered less serious than boys. In a US study*, adults were asked to assess a five-year-old’s reaction to pain. When they were told the child was called ‘Samuel’, they assumed it was in more pain than when they were told it was called ‘Samantha’. This helps to explain why, from their early years, women are assumed to suffer less pain than men and conditioned to put up with it.

‘In general, women are thought to make a lot of fuss about something that’s not serious,’ says Dr Amanda Williams, a clinical psychologist at University College London. ‘There’s a cultural tradition that regards women as unreliable witnesses. In this environment, pain can become normalised. Women know periods and sex can be painful. It sets a precedent, and an acceptance that for some, pain is unavoidable.’

This difference is more profound for woman of colour. People from ethnic minorities admitted to hospital in the UK report much poorer experiences than white patients. The risk of dying in childbirth is also seven times higher for black women than those who are white and British born. Candice Brathwaite believes she was a victim of racial bias when 
she gave birth to her first child. The influencer and co-founder of Make Motherhood Diverse developed sepsis following a caesarean in 2013, and almost died after she was told her pain was normal and sent home. 
‘I felt the white women were listened to more – the midwives would be reassuring to them, but sigh when I complained about my pain,’ says Brathwaite, 31. ‘And when I was wheeled into theatre, the surgeon said, “Can we hurry this one up? 
I was supposed to be home an hour ago.” I can’t help putting his attitude and developing sepsis together. It felt like there was a racial bias there.’

‘A lot of medicine is a case of deciding if pain is “serious” or “not serious”,’ says Dr Adam Kay, author of This Is Going To Hurt. ‘Obviously, anyone who has been dismissed as “not serious” and ended up in need of medical help is absolutely right to have grievances. Sadly, I suspect women suffer from this more. Monthly abdominal pain being a normal feature of their lives gives doctors an easy way to brush things off,’ he adds. ‘But it’s also because they sometimes subconsciously (and wrongly) think women have a lower pain threshold, and take pain more seriously in men.’ It’s no wonder we all cheered at Kristin Scott Thomas’s speech in Fleabag: ‘Women are born with pain built in… We carry it within ourselves throughout our lives. Men don’t.’

 

‘Women’s pain is often put down to hysteria’

 

Studies have also found that medical professionals have less desire to help overweight people, and less patience when they do. Author and mental-health activist Natasha Devon MBE nearly died when her pain was overlooked – partly, she believes, because she was a size 20. ‘I woke up unable to move, with shooting pains in my stomach and shoulder,’ the 38-year-old explains. ‘I called a friend, who dialled 999, but after asking if I was pregnant they decided my case wasn’t urgent. It took 90 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.’

In hospital, Devon was asked to rate her pain from one to ten. ‘I said nine and was sent to the waiting room. When I eventually saw a doctor, he said, “You’re quite a big girl. Do you eat a lot of spicy food?” He diagnosed indigestion, offered me Gaviscon, and said come back in 24 hours if I didn’t feel better. If I’d followed his advice, I’d have died.’

Realising Natasha’s pain wasn’t normal, her friend insisted on a second opinion. Another doctor agreed she should be kept under observation, and also gave the option of exploratory surgery. The procedure should have taken half an hour. Instead, she woke up after five hours with a 30cm scar from her pelvis to her chest. Surgeons had found 1.5 litres of internal bleeding from a ruptured spleen. 
‘This is usually caused by something like a car accident, and there was a million to one chance of it happening by itself,’ says Devon. ‘But if my friend hadn’t been vocal about my pain, the outcome could have been very different. People have this idea that men are more stoic, so if they say they’re in pain, it must be severe. With women, it’s felt a degree of exaggeration has been applied. Now, I know you have to be prepared to fight your corner.’

One factor widening the gender pain gap is that male bodies have been the focus of medical research and drug testing. But huge pressures on staff also mean that mistakes are inevitable – a 2018 survey of NHS staff by the British Medical Association revealed that most are worried about making potentially life-threatening mistakes due to a lack of funding and staff shortages. In some cases, those mistakes are disproportionately hitting women: a third of people in England and Wales are given the wrong diagnosis after 
a heart attack, with women at a 50 per cent greater risk of being misdiagnosed than men.

Things are gradually improving though. The National Institutes of Health in the US issued fresh guidelines in 2017 on the inclusion of women in clinical research, which will impact global understanding of how women’s bodies respond to pain and medication. Thanks in part to female voices, medical professionals are also becoming more aware of the gap. ‘I always taught doctors to err on the side of caution and compassion,’ says Dr Kay.

Fowles, who writes about living with endometriosis at livingwithflare.online, suggests we stay vigilant. ‘Our pain is often put down to hysteria,’ she says. ‘But if you feel something is wrong, keep pushing.’

If you’re in pain, find advice and support at painuk.org

When to take pain seriously

Dr Claire Rushton, vice chairperson of the Family Doctor Association 
(family-doctor.org.uk), advises when to seek help, no matter what your level of pain

Low-level: If you’re suffering from a new pain you can’t explain – and that lasts for three or four days – you should get it checked out, especially if it doesn’t respond to painkillers. If your pain is associated with other symptoms, too – for example, pelvic pain with discharge or weight loss, or leg pain with swelling – see your GP immediately.

Chronic: If this isn’t being controlled by your current medication and keeps escalating, you might need an updated treatment plan.

Severe: This usually needs to be treated immediately. 
A sudden, very bad headache may be a sign of a bleed on the brain, and if you’re experiencing pain that’s keeping you up at night, see your GP or call 111 for out-of-hours advice.

*Source: The Journal of Pediatric Psychology

The post Is pain a feminist issue? appeared first on Marie Claire.

Does a cold office actually make you less productive?

Does a cold office actually make you less productive?


The summer is coming (we think) and we’re preparing for the sweaty tube commutes and uncomfortable chaffing.

But it’s not all bad. The better weather also brings with it beautiful summer dresses, weekends away at cute coastal towns and nice long, light evenings.

And luckily, most of us get to enjoy the office air conditioning when the heat rises, and the chillier conditions keep us more alert which equates to being more productive – right?

Well, actually, maybe not.

Researchers looked at data from 500 participants to find out whether the temperature of your office could be affecting just how productive you are, and the results showed that while the women were able to perform tasks to a higher standard when in warmer environments, men did better when the room was cooler.

By setting the room temperature from 16.2 degrees to 32.6 degrees, those behind the study concluded that warmer = more productive – though not just for women, for everyone.

‘Ultimately, our results potentially raise the stakes for the battle of the thermostat, suggesting that it is not just about comfort, but also about cognitive performance and productivity,’ they said.

‘Given the relative effect sizes, our results suggest that in gender-balanced workplaces, temperatures should be set significantly higher than current standards.’

Stuffy office it is, then.

The post Does a cold office actually make you less productive? appeared first on Marie Claire.

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan: “every set back can be overcome, you just have to change your lens on it”

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan: “every set back can be overcome, you just have to change your lens on it”


SoulCycle is launching in London next month, so we headed to NYC to find out what all the hype is about

Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle
Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle

Even if you haven’t managed to take an indoor cycling class at SoulCycle stateside, chances are you’ve still heard about it. It’s one of the most talked about brands in the fitness industry and for thirteen years it has been redefining health and happiness through unique mind-body-soul experiences. More than 20,000 people take classes every day and its VIP fans include Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Victoria and David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama and Madonna. It’s a bit of a cult, but at the same time it’s for everyone.

It’s so much more than just an indoor cycling studio. The brand focuses on hospitality and community – you instantly feel part of the family the moment you walk through the door. It has an apparel arm; has collaborated with Nike, Lululemon and Le Labo; partnered with Apple Music and hosted live experiences with The Chainsmokers and Ciara. SoulCycle is a powerhouse that hasn’t just thought about the what, they’ve thought about the why. Its success story is well deserved – I first took a class five years ago in LA and still remember the out-of-body feeling. I can’t quite explain what prompted that moment, but I felt amazing – I didn’t cry but some people do (there’s actually a ‘crying at SoulCycle’ GIF on Instagram Stories). You’ll have to try it out for yourself, and now you can. The wait is finally over for Londoners – SoulCycle is coming to Soho next month.

We headed to New York City to immerse ourselves in this unique experience. We met the riders and the team, including Chief Executive Officer Melanie Whelan. Melanie has been part of team SoulCycle for seven years and has spent four of those at the helm as CEO. Since her appointment, she has driven huge growth and the brand now has over 90 studios in 18 markets. Before joining the company, Melanie held leadership positions with Equinox, Virgin Management and Starwood Hotels & Resorts and she’s been named one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40. We chatted about success, failure and the importance of feedback…

Why is London your first studio location outside of the US and Canada?
We’re huge fans of London and it’s a market we’ve had our eye on for a long time because we know we have a big ridership community there already. It’s such a natural extension of what we do here in New York, so hopefully it will translate relatively straightforwardly with the cultural nuances on top. We’re really excited.

It has been a labour of love for the past few years. We wanted to make sure we had the right strategy in place – we’re moving a team over [to London]. This is a very community-focused brand and we’ve always wanted every SoulCycle studio to feel like the only SoulCycle studio. Everything takes longer than I would like it to, but I think it’ll be worth the wait.

Why is SoulCycle so successful?
It’s the people, all of them. The riders, our instructors, our operators at the front desk. They’re the ones that will say “Kim, I haven’t seen you in a week, let me get you in for a class; how are your kids? What’s happening in your life?” Those personal connections are a big part of our experience. We truly scout globally for the best instructor talent in the world and have a rigorous training programme, so that they know the fundamentals of what it is that we deliver in the room – physically, emotionally and musically. Then we have ongoing training and development, to ensure they are developing their craft and experiences as they go.

Our riders are the ones that make it all happen. They’re the ones that come into the room and bring the energy, they’re the ones that tell their friends and bring more people in. I get asked all the time, why didn’t you launch here sooner? Why didn’t you scale faster? And I always say, this is a curated human experience and and we’re bringing people along the journey with us. We’re not scaling hamburgers, t-shirts or salads. Right? We could just buy more lettuce and make more salads. To keep a brand really special you have to be careful about how you expand and make sure you do it right, not fast.

The SoulCycle studio in action

The SoulCycle studio in action

What is your perception of the London market and how do you think SoulCycle will fit in?
First of all, we don’t really view ourselves in the boutique fitness space, we believe that we are an experiential brand that is community based and hospitality driven. It’s all about you and your experience. Our riders say they come to us at first for the workout, but they stay for these connections – friendships, community and everything that happens in the lobby. I don’t think there’s anything really like it in London and in many of the markets here in the US. There’s no question that there are a lot of boutique fitness operators in this space, but what we do is differentiated and I think we will be a new experience for the [London] market.

Is there anything you’re afraid about?
I wouldn’t say afraid. We are conscious that the market is different, especially from what we see in New York. Our riders in New York will come to the studio in the morning to workout and then they’ll go home to shower before going to work. I think London seems like a more transient consumer – fitness is on their way to work, and so we’re mindful to make sure that we have the right comfortable accommodation for people, as they move through their traffic and daily life.

In every one of the markets that we’ve opened in, we’ve taken a really thoughtful approach to making sure that the nuance of how we operate – from the music that we play to the schedule that we create – is really relevant for that local community and we’ve done the same thing with London. We’ve asked a lot of questions. What music do you guys like? What time of day do you like to workout? How late? And we listen not just before, but then once we open [we ask], is this working? Then we tweak as we go. We’ve been actively listening for a couple of years now and we really understand what the consumer wants. The consumer is changing every day and we will just continue that conversation when we open.

Why is constant feedback so important?
I think it speaks to what we do. We are in the business of human potential, we want you to be the best version of your and we are going to coach you on that ride. We are all works in progress, Marvin (Marvin Foster Jr, head of talent) actually says this a lot – it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. Is it another turn on the resistance knob, is it a heavier hand weight that you’re picking up, are you running out of the saddle for the whole song? The little accomplishments are just progress up that ladder to who you are.

When I started with Soul we only had 1lb or 2lb weights in the room and most people were using 1lb weights. We now have 5lb, 8lb and 10lb weights, because the riders are stronger so they are looking for new challenges. We’re always adapting and changing, because we believe in progress.

Inside a SoulCycle class

Inside a SoulCycle class

Have there been any failures and how have you learned from them?
How long do we have? You learn as you go and you make mistakes. One of the things that comes to mind from the early days is when we built a new propriety booking system. All our reservations go live Monday at noon for the week. 25% of classes are gone in the first five minutes so this time is a big part of our experience and a couple of years ago we launched a new system but it didn’t work.

We just weren’t ready, we hadn’t done enough testing on the back end. The amount of times I’ve thought, if I could just go back and un–press that button. But you just learn and now every update or change that we have makes us learn and it wasn’t the end the world but it was a rough couple of days. We’ve got lots of stories like that.

Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle CEO

Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle’s CEO, in the London studio

What’s your daily routine like? When do you ride?
I travel a lot for work, so when I’m home I’ll get up very early. I have a nine-year-old and a seven-year-old, so when I’m home I try to be in their traffic pattern in the morning. We do breakfast, I drop them for school and then I ride. I typically ride most mornings. I love, not just the class (obviously the class is an incredible experience), but just being in the studios and being able to talk to the teams and the riders, I just learn so much. We always say you learn more in 30 minutes at the front desk in one of the studios than you are going to sitting at your desk all day. Then my days are pretty much in my office and doing fun stuff. This is a great day. I get to talk about opening SoulCycle in London!

When I’m travelling, for the most part I’m in cities where we have SoulCycle now. That was the hardest part about growing the business was spending a lot of time travelling to new markets where there was no SoulCycle, so I didn’t get to experience it as much. Now we’re everywhere it’s a lot easier, exercise is really important to me.

Do all your employees ride?
We don’t require people to ride but we very much encourage it as part of the employee experience. Coincidentally, right now I can see our finance director and he’s got a bazillion numbers on his screen. Whatever he’s doing is going to be much more contextualised if he’s experienced it in the room. If we’re looking at instructor performance, if he can actually be in the room and relate to Marvin and what he’s doing, then he’s going to think about his work differently. I get asked a lot, do you force people? Absolutely not, but it’s such a benefit of working here, and because it’s what we do, I always encourage people. If you’re having a rough day, go take a class.

Why is the experience element so significant?
This is a place where you come for a physical, mental and musical experience. We really believe that as human beings we are so over-stretched right now – anxiety is at an all-time high and you are on it 24 hours a day. If you’re not reading an email then you’re posting something on Instagram and we enable you to park that noise for 45 minutes, to go inside your head, listen to great music or push yourself physically.

Yes, our instructors coach you to turn up the resistance, but you are stronger than you think you are and that’s actually not about the bike at all, that’s about you and your life. That is what SoulCycle really means – it’s not about cycling really at all, yes you do that here and really, it’s a great workout, but what really keeps people connected to this is the sense of community, inspiration, personal development and self-accountability to be a better version [of yourself] tomorrow.

What’s your superpower?
Relentless positivity. I fundamentally believe that the glass is always half full and my personal mantra is ‘we figure it out’. It’s not about finding the direct yes, there are some things that can’t be fixed but there is another solution that we can find, in a different way. Every set back can be overcome and you just have to change your lens on it. It’s hard to do, but you can train your brain that way.

You’ve mentioned having a millennial mentor before, how does that work?
I view it very much as a two-way street. I had a long conversation with my friend last night about her career and a decision she is trying to make. She thanked me for mentoring her and I found myself coaching her in the conversation, in a way that I was actually hearing in my own head for my own self. I think mentoring goes in all directions and is something I feel very passionate about, especially as a female leader. I think we need more strong female leaders in the world so bringing women up behind me is really important.

My millennial mentor is a young woman who is also my go-to for trend spotting, because I’m a mum of two kids who travels for work and works a lot, so I like to go out in the world to see what’s cool, what’s happening and what a different generation is spending time on. It’s as much about career mentoring as it is about trend mentoring, cool hunting, understanding consumption patterns of a different generation, many of whom are our consumer, so that kind of activity is really important.

What would your advice to your younger self be?
Don’t take it all so seriously. I think we all think when we’re young we need a plan, and we have to executive the plan by a certain point. The truth is that life is a jungle gym – it is not a ladder and you are going to go up to go sideways, to go back to go three steps further. Just relax, because the journey is a lot of fun if you let it be and often sometimes things are going to take care of themselves. Not every day is going to be great and that’s okay too.

For more information visit soul-cycle.com/london.

SoulCycle’s first London studio will open on 14 June at 3-4 Great Marlborough Street.

The post SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan: “every set back can be overcome, you just have to change your lens on it” appeared first on Marie Claire.

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan: “every set back can be overcome, you just have to change your lens on it”

SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan: “every set back can be overcome, you just have to change your lens on it”


SoulCycle is launching in London next month, so we headed to NYC to find out what all the hype is about

Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle
Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle

If you haven’t managed to take an indoor cycling class at SoulCycle stateside, then the chances are you’ve heard about it. It’s one of the most talked about brands in the fitness industry and for thirteen years it has been redefining health and happiness through unique mind-body-soul experiences. More than 20,000 people take classes every day and its VIP fans include Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Victoria and David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama and Madonna. It’s a bit of a cult, but at the same time it’s for everyone.

It’s not just an indoor cycling studio, it’s so much more than that. The brand focuses on hospitality and community – you instantly feel a part of the family the moment you walk through the door. It has an apparel arm, has collaborated with Nike, Lululemon and Le Labo, they’ve partnered with Apple Music and hosted live experiences with The Chainsmokers and Ciara. SoulCycle is a powerhouse that hasn’t just thought about the what, they’ve thought about the why. It’s so successful but it deserves to be – I first took a class five years ago in LA and I still remember the out-of-body feeling, I can’t tell you what it was exactly that gave me that moment, but I felt amazing – I didn’t cry but some people do (there’s actually a ‘crying at SoulCycle’ GIF on Instagram Stories). You’ll have to try it out for yourself, and now you can. The wait is finally over for Londoners and SoulCycle is coming to Soho next month.

We headed to New York City to see what makes this experience so unique, meet the riders and the team, including Chief Executive Officer Melanie Whelan. Melanie has been part of team SoulCycle for seven years and has spent four of those at the helm as CEO. Since her appointment, she has driven huge growth and the brand now has over 90 studios in 18 markets. Before joining the company, Melanie held leadership positions with Equinox, Virgin Management and Starwood Hotels & Resorts and she’s been named one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40. We chatted about success, failure and the importance of feedback…

Why is London your first studio location outside of the US and Canada?
We’re huge fans of London and it’s a market we’ve had our eye on for a long time because we know we have a big ridership community there already. It’s such a natural extension of what we do here in New York, so hopefully it will translate relatively straightforwardly with the cultural nuances on top. We’re really excited.

It has been a labour of love for the past few years. We wanted to make sure we had the right strategy in place – we’re moving a team over [to London]. This is a very community focused brand and we’ve always wanted every SoulCycle studio to feel like the only SoulCycle studio. Everything takes longer than I would like it to, but I think it’ll be worth the wait.

Why is SoulCycle so successful?
It’s the people, all of them. The riders, our instructors, our operators at the front desk. They’re the ones that will say “Kim, I haven’t seen you in a week, let me get you in for a class, how are your kids, what’s happening in your life?” Those personal connections are a big part of our experience. We truly scout globally for the best instructor talent in the world and have a rigorous training programme, so that they know the fundamentals of what it is that we deliver in the room – physically, emotionally and musically. Then we have ongoing training and development, to ensure they are developing their craft and experiences as they go.

Our riders are the ones that make it all happen. They’re the ones that come into the room and bring the energy, they’re the ones that tell their friends and bring more people in. I get asked all the time, why didn’t you launch here sooner? Why didn’t you scale faster? And I always say, this is a curated human experience and and we’re bringing people along the journey with us. We’re not scaling hamburgers, t-shirts or salads. Right? We could just buy more lettuce and make more salads. To keep a brand really special you have to be careful about how you expand and make sure you do it right, not fast.

The SoulCycle studio in action

The SoulCycle studio in action

What is your perception of the London market and how do you think SoulCycle will fit in?
First of all, we don’t really view ourselves in the boutique fitness space, we believe that we are an experiential brand that is community based and hospitality driven. It’s all about you and your experience. Our riders say they come to us at first for the workout but they stay for these connections – friendships, community and everything that happens in the lobby. I don’t think there’s anything really like it in London and in many of the markets here in the US. There’s no question that there are a lot of boutique fitness operators in this space, but what we do is differentiated and I think we will be a new experience for the [London] market.

Is there anything you’re afraid about?
I wouldn’t say afraid. We are conscious that the market is different, especially from what we see in New York. Our riders in New York will come to the studio in the morning to workout and then they’ll go home to shower before going to work. I think London seems like a more transient consumer – fitness is on their way to work, and so we’re mindful to make sure that we have the right comfortable accommodation for people, as they move through their traffic and daily life.

In every one of the markets that we’ve opened in, we’ve taken a really thoughtful approach to making sure that the nuance of how we operate – from the music that we play to the schedule that we create – is really relevant for that local community and we’ve done the same thing with London. We’ve asked a lot of questions. What music do you guys like? What time of day do you like to workout? How late? And we listen not just before, but then once we open – is this working? Then we tweak as we go. We’ve been actively listening for a couple of years now and we really understand what the consumer wants. The consumer is changing every day and we will just continue that conversation when we open.

Why is constant feedback so important?
I think it speaks to what we do. We are in the business of human potential, we want you to be the best version of your and we are going to coach you on that ride. We are all works in progress, Marvin (Marvin Foster Jr, head of talent) actually says this a lot – it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. Is it another turn on the resistance knob, is it a heavier hand weight that you’re picking up, are you running out of the saddle for the whole song? The little accomplishments are just progress up that ladder to who you are.

When I started with Soul we only had 1lb or 2lb weights in the room and most people were using 1lb weights. We now have 5lb, 8lb and 10lb weights, because the riders are stronger so they are looking for new challenges. We’re always adapting and changing, because we believe in progress.

Inside a SoulCycle class

Inside a SoulCycle class

Have there been any failure moments and how have you learned from them?
How long do we have? You learn as you go and you make mistakes. One of the things that comes to mind from the early days is when we built a new propriety booking system. All our reservations go live Monday at noon for the week. 25% of classes are gone in the first five minutes so this time is a big part of our experience and a couple of years ago we launched a new system but it didn’t work.

We just weren’t ready, we hadn’t done enough testing on the back end. The amount of times I’ve thought, if I could just go back and un–press that button. But you just learn and now every update or change that we have makes us learn and it wasn’t the end the world but it was a rough couple of days. We’ve got lots of stories like that.

Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle CEO

Melanie Whelan, SoulCycle’s CEO, in the London studio

What’s your daily routine like? When do you ride?
I travel a lot for work, so when I’m home I’ll get up very early. I have a nine-year-old and a seven-year-old, so when I’m home I try to be in their traffic pattern in the morning. We do breakfast, I drop them for school and then I ride. I typically ride most mornings. I love, not just the class (obviously the class is an incredible experience), but just being in the studios and being able to talk to the teams and the riders, I just learn so much. We always say you learn more in 30 minutes at the front desk in one of the studios than you are going to sitting at your desk all day. Then my days are pretty much in my office and doing fun stuff. This is a great day. I get to talk about opening SoulCycle in London!

When I’m travelling, for the most part I’m in cities where we have SoulCycle now. That was the hardest part about growing the business was spending a lot of time travelling to new markets where there was no SoulCycle, so I didn’t get to experience it as much. Now we’re everywhere it’s a lot easier, exercise is really important to me.

Do all your employees ride?
We don’t require people to ride but we very much encourage it as part of the employee experience. Coincidentally, right now I can see our finance director and he’s got a bazillion numbers on his screen. Whatever he’s doing is going to be much more contextualised if he’s experienced it in the room. If we’re looking at instructor performance, if he can actually be in the room and relate to Marvin and what he’s doing, then he’s going to think about his work differently. I get asked a lot, do you force people? Absolutely not, but it’s such a benefit of working here, and because it’s what we do, I always encourage people. If you’re having a rough day, go take a class.

Why is the experience element so significant?
This is a place where you come for a physical, mental and musical experience. We really believe that as human beings we are so over-stretched right now – anxiety is at an all-time high and you are on it 24 hours a day. If you’re not reading an email then you’re posting something on Instagram and we enable you to park that noise for 45 minutes, to go inside your head, listen to great music or push yourself physically.

Yes, our instructors coach you to turn up the resistance, but you are stronger than you think you are and that’s actually not about the bike at all, that’s about you and your life. That is what SoulCycle really means – it’s not about cycling really at all, yes you do that here and really, it’s a great workout, but what really keeps people connected to this is the sense of community, inspiration, personal development and self-accountability to be a better version [of yourself] tomorrow.

What’s your superpower?
Relentless positivity. I fundamentally believe that the glass is always half full and my personal mantra is ‘we figure it out’. It’s not about finding the direct yes, there are some things that can’t be fixed but there is another solution that we can find, in a different way. Every set back can be overcome and you just have to change your lens on it. It’s hard to do, but you can train your brain that way.

You’ve mentioned having a millennial mentor before, how does that work?
I view it very much as a two-way street. I had a long conversation with my friend last night about her career and a decision she is trying to make. She thanked me for mentoring her and I found myself coaching her in the conversation, in a way that I was actually hearing in my own head for my own self. I think mentoring goes in all directions and is something I feel very passionate about, especially as a female leader. I think we need more strong female leaders in the world so bringing women up behind me is really important.

My millennial mentor is a young woman who is also my go-to for trend spotting, because I’m a mum of two kids who travels for work and works a lot, so I like to go out in the world to see what’s cool, what’s happening and what a different generation is spending time on. It’s as much about career mentoring as it is about trend mentoring, cool hunting, understanding consumption patterns of a different generation, many of whom are our consumer, so that kind of activity is really important.

What would your advice to your younger self be?
Don’t take it all so seriously. I think we all think when we’re young we need a plan, and we have to executive the plan by a certain point. The truth is that life is a jungle gym – it is not a ladder and you are going to go up to go sideways, to go back to go three steps further. Just relax, because the journey is a lot of fun if you let it be and often sometimes things are going to take care of themselves. Not every day is going to be great and that’s okay too.

For more information visit soul-cycle.com/london.

SoulCycle’s first London studio will open on 14 June at 3-4 Great Marlborough Street.

The post SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan: “every set back can be overcome, you just have to change your lens on it” appeared first on Marie Claire.

How to remove skin tags according to a top dermatologist

How to remove skin tags according to a top dermatologist


how to remove skin tags

Skin tags are pretty common and something a lot of people worldwide have. Although they’re usually quite harmless, you may have your reasons for wanting to get one removed; perhaps it’s catching on clothing, or you’d just rather it wasn’t there.

So what should you do about it? We spoke to Dr Anjali Mahto, dermatologist at London’s Cadogan Clinic, to understand more about the skin tag removal process.

What are skin tags?

‘Skin tags are harmless lesions or growths of the skin that can look like they are hanging off the skin surface,’ explains Dr Anjali. ‘ Medical words for skin tags include “achrocordons” and “papillomas”.  They can often be found in body folds such as the neck, armpit or groin, and become more common with age.’

According to the NHS, skin tags can vary in size from just a few millimetres to as much as five centimetres wide, and are made up of loose collagen fibres and blood vessels that are surrounded by skin.

‘They are also seen more frequently in patients who are overweight or suffer with conditions such as Type 2 diabetes,’ Dr Anjali adds. ‘The exact cause of skin tags is not known, but factors such as chafing and insulin resistance have been implicated.’

how to remove skin tags

How to remove skin tags

There are several methods of removal, all of which you can discuss more with your doctor or dermatologist. The NHS advises that you make an appointment with a private GP to have a skin tag removed if it’s causing you problems.

‘Common methods of removal by a GP or dermatologist include cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen), excision (with a scalpel blade or scissors), or using diathermy (heat and electricity),’ says Dr Anjali. You can discuss all of these options with your doctor or derm who will advise on the best course of treatment and next steps.

Can you remove skin tags yourself?

There are several self-removal techniques floating around the internet, but our dermatologist advises against the DIY method when it comes to skin tags. ‘It is probably not a good idea to try and remove skin tags at home, due to the potential risk of bleeding and infection,’ she says.

You’ve probably heard the very popular ‘at-home’ method of tying a piece of thread around a skin tag, so that it drops off on its own accord. But Dr Anjali advises this is not the best option because of the lack of sterility and potential for infection.

Note that the purpose of this feature is to inform, not replace one-to-one medical consultations. For advice tailored specifically to you, always discuss your health with your doctor.

The post How to remove skin tags according to a top dermatologist appeared first on Marie Claire.

Women are ‘happier and healthier without marriage and children’ apparently

Women are ‘happier and healthier without marriage and children’ apparently


And they live longer

wedding
Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

Women are constantly bombarded with stats linking age to marriage and fertility. We’re told that if you want more than one child, you need to have your first by this age. We’re told that this is the best age to get married. And we’re told that this is when you should hit certain life milestones.

But according to a behavioural and happiness expert, those who decide not to get married and have children are healthier and happier.

Paul Dolan, professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, told the Hay Festival on Saturday that women who decided against settling down are the happiest.

He said: ‘Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room when they’re asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present: fucking miserable.

‘We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: if you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.

Men reportedly benefit from marriage, with Professor Dolan stating: ‘You take less risks, you earn more money at work, and you live a little longer.

‘She, on the other hand, has to put up with that, and dies sooner than if she never married. The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children.’

The expert bases his claims on evidence from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) which compared levels of pleasure and misery in unmarried, married, divorced, separated and widowed individuals. He has included the data in his latest book, Happy Ever After, as the study found that those in the unmarried category tended to have lower levels of misery than their coupled up counterparts.

He concluded: ‘You see a single woman of 40, who has never had children – “Bless, that’s a shame, isn’t it? Maybe one day you’ll meet the right guy and that’ll change.”

‘No, maybe she’ll meet the wrong guy and that’ll change. Maybe she’ll meet a guy who makes her less happy and healthy, and die sooner.’

So there you go.

The post Women are ‘happier and healthier without marriage and children’ apparently appeared first on Marie Claire.

The True Cancer Bodies photo series is here to highlight the reality of cancer

The True Cancer Bodies photo series is here to highlight the reality of cancer


true cancer bodies
Credit: Binky Nixon Photography

A new photo series campaign has been created to highlight the ‘real face’ of cancer.

True Cancer Bodies is headed by Vicky Saynor, a mother of four who was diagnosed with a Grade 3 stage 1 Breast Cancer in November 2018. She found a lump high on her breast after learning how to examine herself on the Coppafeel website after hearing the story of a young woman passing away from breast cancer in her twenties because she wasn’t diagnosed early enough.

Shortly after surgery, just one month later, she started a blog on Instagram and Facebook to ‘show the true face of cancer’ and quickly amassed over 4,000 followers.

View this post on Instagram

GAMMY TIT I’ve gained quite a lot of new followers 👋 mainly because of @truecancerbodies (thank you for your support), so I wanted to just remind you all why I’m here ☺ // Last year in July, shortly after getting married, I started to properly check my boobs. When I say ‘properly’ this is very important…. boob checking is from armpit to collarbone to bottom of breast tissue and back across to armpit. My lump was between the top of my breast and collarbone, and many have been shocked by that. Including me! Before ‘proper’ checking, I just randomly gave my soft breast tissue a squidge and that was pretty much it. Finding the charity @coppafeelpeople and learning the checking method meant I found my lump, hopefully a better outcome for me, immediate treatment and hopefully a better prognosis. The type of tumour I had, left unchecked for even another six months, would have resulted in a drastically different outcome for me and my family // I am a True Cancer Body. Early detection for ANY cancer is key. It’s not an exact science – I know that! But please get checking your breasts regularly; get anything you feel or see has changed in your body checked; go for your smear!; @coppafeelpeople offer monthly FREE text reminders. There’s no excuse … please don’t think it won’t happen to you! // If you’ve been affected by any cancer our @truecancerbodies community is welcoming and safe. Male, female, parents of children with cancer, any background, we’d love to hear from you! We’re currently focusing on gynae cancer throughout May, with the help of @eveappeal. In June we’re focusing on Men & Cancer. I’d love to get more men involved, and ultimately see better representation of men with cancer in the media. If you can help with this in any way please let me know! // Happy Boob and Body checking Sunday! Xx #coppafeel #checkyourboobs #checkyourballs #fuckcancer #chemohead #chemotherapy #bodyaware #truecancerbodies #boobs #eveappeal

A post shared by Gammy Tit (@gammy_tit) on May 12, 2019 at 3:23am PDT

But earlier this year, after seeing a breast cancer campaign that enlisted celebrities and models as spokespeople and used hashtags such as ‘two is better than one’, she launched True Cancer Bodies as a way of authentically representing those living with cancer.

She explained: ‘Although always well-meaning, the use of glossy celebrities and happy, smiling models in cancer campaigns, just did not reflect the reality of what we, the cancer patients, and our families have to endure.’

The photo series captures 38 ‘true cancer bodies’ from across the UK, aged between 26 and 57, representing 10 different cancers from breast to bowel, multiple myeloma to Ewing’s sarcoma and it offers a safe space for people to tell their stories, speak their mind and get much needed support.

true cancer bodies

Credit: The Voyage UK

The aim is to show the real face of cancer in a way that isn’t ‘happy, fluffly, pink’, and the campaign’s Instagram page alone had over 8,000 views in the first week.

true cancer bodies

Credit: The Voyage UK

True Cancer Bodies is now collaborating with cancer charities to help raise the awareness of specific cancers every month, and the community has quickly evolved and includes over 25 different cancers, with people ranging in age from just 6 years old up to 79 years old.

Vicky said: ‘The prognosis of so many cancer cases could be better if the population’s awareness was improved.

‘We strongly feel that the best way to do this is by showing what cancer really looks like – the bald heads, the scars, the mastectomies.

‘A picture of a 35-year-old women with a stoma bag is the real face of cancer, and is exactly what is needed to be shared to increase awareness of early detection techniques.’

The post The True Cancer Bodies photo series is here to highlight the reality of cancer appeared first on Marie Claire.



Here’s what you need to know about the chilling new abortion legislation

Here’s what you need to know about the chilling new abortion legislation


Elisabeth Moss as Offred in The Handmaid's Tale
Handmaid’s Tale

This week saw the passing of the most restrictive abortion ban in the US, with Alabama lawmakers making history on Tuesday for passing a bill that outlaws abortion in almost all cases – including rape and incest. It’s a near-total ban, with the only exemption being when the woman’s health is in life-threatening danger.

And who voted to pass it? 25 men, with the four women in the Alabama senate all being in the minority to vote against the bill.

But Alabama is no isolated case, coming in a chilling series of proposed restrictions to women’s reproductive rights across America, introducing the fetal heartbeat bill, with Georgia’s ban being passed just days before.

There are reportedly sixteen other states seeking to impose new restrictions on abortion, restrictions that actually echo those in Northern Ireland.

Pro-Choice campaigners via The Guardian pointed out that under a piece of Victorian legislation – the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 – anyone procuring an abortion in Northern Ireland, whether medical staff or pregnant women, can face life imprisonment.

REX

Here’s what you need to know about the new abortion legislation…

Alabama abortion law

The near blanket ban in Alabama is a proposed law making abortion illegal in almost all cases, including rape and incest. The only reported exemption is when a woman’s life is at risk. Getting an abortion could lead to imprisonment and even doctors who perform the surgery could reportedly face up to 99 years in prison.

The law could reportedly be blocked in court, but with an appeals process could be brought before the Supreme Court, which due to the conservative majority, could criminalise abortion.

REX

Georgia abortion law

Georgia criminalised abortion this week, changing the state law from outlawing abortion after 20 weeks to outlawing abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

The proposed bill in question is the fetal heartbeat bill, deeming an abortion illegal as soon as a heartbeat can be detected. The ban, similar to Alabama’s, would ban almost all abortions unless the mother is at serious risk.

REX

What is the fetal heartbeat bill?

The fetal heartbeat bill is part of the proposed abortion legislation in the US. As its name suggests, the bill determines that an abortion becomes illegal once the fetus’ heartbeat can be detected, reasoning that a heartbeat makes it a human life. Anti-bill campaigners however have been quick to point out that a fetal heartbeat can often be detected before a woman finds out that she is pregnant.

REX

Which US states are looking to ban abortion?

Abortion ban bills have already passed in Alabama, Ohio, Mississippi and Georgia, with the proposed bills failing in Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wyoming (the bill in Kentucky has also been temporarily blocked). Other states that are moving to restrict abortion laws include Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

We will continue to update this story.

The post Here’s what you need to know about the chilling new abortion legislation appeared first on Marie Claire.



How to nail strength training like an absolute pro

How to nail strength training like an absolute pro


Strength training can be a bit daunting to begin with, especially as it’s in the past been quite exclusive to men.

However, more and more women are getting into weight lifting and muscle gaining exercises, so there’s not better time to try something new.

Kate Maxey, Strength and Conditioning Master Trainer at Third Space, shares her knowledge.

Have you noticed more women take up strength training? And if so, why?

With the myths of lifting weights being solely for men becoming a thing of the past, it’s clear to see why are seeing a rise in women strength training. Take crossfit as an example, we have seen huge growth in recent years with inspirational women showing that they too can push their bodies to extremes and lift weights. Crossfit has created an environment where women feel confident to train alongside men, in a less intimidating setting than the mirror covered, bicep curling weight room. The first ever Strongwoman competition was held in 2016 – and since, there has been significant growth in women training like this. Strongwoman training involves using different equipment that is not readily available to most gyms e.g. log bars, atlas stones, farmer’s carry etc.

At Third Space, we have seen a +12% increase year on year participation in our Strength and conditioning group exercise programmes, which has subsequently led to the launch of the Yard at Canary Wharf and Yard Strong – a strong-man inspired, strength class and it’s interesting to see that over 50% of our Yard Strong participants are in fact female.

It’s important to also take note that the fitness market isn’t the same as what it was a decade ago, with more women partaking in sport and in the gym. We have witnessed an evolution of the ‘strong, not skinny’ movement – women are now more focussed on training like athletes and looking to achieve strong and athletic bodies, contributing to the rise in strength training for women.

Are there any common misconceptions surrounding it?

Previously, there have been misconceptions that lifting weights will make you bulky and we are now seeing more women embracing the athletic, lean and powerful bodies. However, lifting weights can be one of the most effective ways to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass, creating a lean, athletic figure, not the bulky image that has been created. If you stick to good diet and ensure resistance training is include within your workout, you can maximise your fat loss while minimising muscle loss, which help you gain an athletic, lean body.

Often classes have been given the reputation that it is where women go to practice their favourite 90s style workout routines. However, times are changing (at last!) The development of classes has led to both male and females entering the studios.

What advice would you give women wanting to get started?

Consistency is key: in the gym we are seeing more and more women and men making the gym their lifestyle. In turn, results are expected for time and effort with clients wanting to see their results in the weight that they are lifting or the meters they are rowing. Results are expected for time and effort spent in the gym. Via strength training you are able to physically see the benefits of lifting, not only through your bodies but more so from the number of kilograms lifted or how many meters rowed in a test.

The Yard Strong is inspired by the world’s strongest man competitions – think farmers carries and atlas stones which is a class at our functional training space, The Yard at Third Space Canary Whard. The aim is only ever to develop, and each week be able to lift a little bit more. It is a strength class, it’s not about burpees – it’s about lifting. Come ready to learn correct technique and push yourself in each class.

Ask questions and seek the help of a trainer. Ensuring you have the correct technique is extremely important to make sure you are training effectively and in order to maximise your results.

Any particular exercises that are good for beginners? Tips?

Strength training is low impact, but offers rewarding results. When lifting weights there is little to no impact, which when practiced correctly makes it safe for all ages.

My top three exercises for beginners that you want to ensure you are including in your workout, whilst perfecting your technique each time are:

1. Squat – working nearly every muscle in your legs this compound full body movement is a must have in any workout. You can begin with body weight, then begin to increase the weight using a DB or a KB.

2. Shoulder press – working your upper body and importantly your core, this exercise will soon begin to sculpt your upper body and make you feel like a gym pro in no
Time. Begin with DB’s and progress to using a barbell in no time.

3. Back row – time to work that back. Most of us sit down all day and sit in one poor posture, we need to train in a different way to the movements we perform all day. Therefore, training your posterior chain (back/glutes/hamstrings) is a great way to improve posture and develop that great defined back, arms and core. Begin with DB’s, and begin to see the difference.

Don’t be afraid of going and lifting weights, trust me and in a few weeks you’ll have achieved more than ever before!

The post How to nail strength training like an absolute pro appeared first on Marie Claire.

Apparently, this will be the biggest regret of your life

Apparently, this will be the biggest regret of your life


Agree?

how do bloggers travel

Some of the most common regrets we have include working too hard, losing touch with friends, turning down a dream job opportunity and not making time to travel.

But what is the one thing that most people would say is the biggest regret of their lives?

Psychologists at Cornell University have released a new study revealing that the biggest regret we have in our lives is ‘failing our ideal selves’.

Rather than regretting the things we have done – ‘why did I say that?’ or ‘I wish I had done this instead!’ – our ultimate worry is that we haven’t followed our dreams.

Professor of Psychology and lead author of the study, Tom Gilovich, said: ‘When we evaluate our lives, we think about whether we’re heading toward our ideal selves, becoming the person we’d like to be.

‘Those are the regrets that are going to stick with you, because they are what you look at through the windshield of life.

‘The ‘ought’ regrets are potholes on the road. Those were problems, but now they’re behind you. To be sure, there are certain failures to live up to our ‘ought’ selves that are extremely painful and can haunt a person forever; so many great works of fiction draw upon precisely that fact.

‘But for most people those types of regrets are far outnumbered by the ways in which they fall short of their ideal selves.’

So if you’ve been looking for the courage and motivation to get out there and turn your dreams into a reality – this is it.

The post Apparently, this will be the biggest regret of your life appeared first on Marie Claire.