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Ash Barty’s game plan for the “challenging times” is ace

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Words of wisdom from the rising star of Australian (and indeed world) tennis scene, Ashleigh Barty.

Did you know that Ash Barty was just 21 when she became the highest ranked Australian player? Add to her CV the fact that she already has seven Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles titles and ten WTA doubles titles under her belt, there's little doubt she's our brightest rising star. We can't wait to see what she does at the 2020 Australian Open.

Apart from considerable her success on the tennis court, her behaviour off the court has earnt her just as much admiration from fans; openly sharing her mental health battles, being named a National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador, and now campaigning for greater sun safety awareness through her partnership with Banana Boat.

We recently had the opportunity to quiz Ash on the all things motivation, sun safety and her tennis pro tips for attending the upcoming Australian Open.

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Where do you find the motivation to stay on top of your game?

It’s all about balance and finding a way to enjoy what you are doing, even during the challenging times. Surrounding yourself with positive people who help you stay motivated and remind you of your goals is also important. If I’m not 100% I definitely listen to my body and make sure I’m taking extra care of myself.

One what she'd tell her 13-year old self

Enjoy the journey – the ups, the downs and the in between. And believe in yourself.

On her sunshine-filled childhood and being sun smart

Growing up in Queensland being sun smart is something you learn from a young age. It is sunny nearly all year so getting in the habit of wearing a hat, drinking plenty of water and wearing sunscreen is so important. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve used Banana Boat sunscreen, my parents were always strict with my sisters and I and made sure we had sunscreen on before playing outside…. Knowing when and how to apply sunscreen is also a big factor for me staying sun safe, I’ll put it on 20 minutes before I go out in the sun and I’ll reapply every two hours – often more frequently when I’m training, playing intensely or in quite hot conditions.

On the very real risk of melanoma

I get my skin checked every year. Living in Queensland and with my life on the tennis tour and constantly being in the sun it is very important. It’s so important to know how to stay safe in the sun, especially in Australia. This is one of the reasons I wanted to partner with Banana Boat, to help raise awareness in Australia about being sun smart and that wearing and reapplying sunscreen is important to help keep you protected from the harsh Australian sun.

Skin cancer is something that affects so many Australians and people who are in the sun regularly like me have to be extra careful and aware.

On enjoying the Australian Open like a tennis insider

The Australian Open is an amazing event. There is so much to do as a fan, more than any other Grand Slam. The ground passes are great value and allow fans to go and watch different matches. I would recommend buying a ground pass in week one, watching plenty of tennis, eating at some of Melbourne’s best restaurants on site, and wearing plenty of Banana Boat SPF50+ of course.

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Fitness

Super cushy running shoes may not be your friend

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While a thick-soled running shoe feels comfortable, new studies show that a thinner style may be better for your stride.

There’s something cloud-like about a maximalist sneaker. All that cushioning is extra bouncy and it feels like you’re running on air.

But it turns out that not being able to feel the road underfoot is affecting your gait.

A new study that compared the effects of maximalist vs neutral sneakers over the course of a 5km run found that “runners exhibited increased impact forces and loading rate when running in a maximal versus neutral shoe. Because increases in these variables have been associated with an increased risk of running-related injuries, runners who are new to running in a maximal shoe may be at an increased risk of injury.”

It’s because runners are landing on their feet harder, thinking that there’s more protection from all that cushioning. This means they’re more susceptible to pronate more, which is when their ankles roll inward as they take off.

But then this study of the minimalist, webbed-foot sneakers that were all the rage a few years ago showed that in some cases, it increased injuries compared to standard sneakers.

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So what to do?

Assistant professor of kinesiology at San Jose State University, J. Hannigan, said thicker soles contributed towards more ankle movement.

“If you extend a shoe’s height, it will tend to be more unstable,” he told the New York Times.

Then there’s this study that says while maximal running shoes are increasing in popularity, their greater loading rates, impact forces and the eversion mechanics in these styles “may indicate an increased risk of injury.”

So don’t just reach for the thicker soled sneakers just because they’re all the rage. Visit a speciality sports store to get fitted for the right pair for you.

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MAFS’ Mikey’s hilarious ‘workout’ 

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We’ll take one of everything from P.E Nation’s H&M collaboration

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Launching globally in stores and online on March 5th, the Australian activewear brand has worked hard on a sustainable collection to bring P.E Nation's unique aesthetic to the legging-loving masses.

If you're a lover of activewear, Pip Edwards' and Claire Tregoning's success story is probably not new to you. The best friends and business partners started their fashion/street/sportswear brand P.E Nation back in March of 2016, and now – almost exactly four years on – the duo are celebrating a big milestone; a global collaboration with blockbuster Swedish fashion chain, H&M.

The capsule collection riffs on P.E Nation's distinctive take on retro sportswear, but with a modern nod to sustainability – using organic cotton and recycled polyester throughout the 30-piece capsule, which includes swimwear, shoes and accessories, as well as apparel.

The price point will no doubt prove a drawcard for those who love the P.E 'look', but may not want to cough up $150 for a pair of leggings. Tanks start from $49.99, leggings $79.99 and statement outerwear for $89.99 – significantly less than the brand's full-price offering.

Working within a contained palette of pastels teamed with black, beige and white, the collection covers the sartorial territory that P.E Nation does best – gym-to-street; with oversized windbreakers, pleated maxi skirts and logo tees making the transition from Pilates to brunch not only seamless, but also stylish.

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Co-founders Edwards and Tregoning expressed their excitement for their latest project, saying “With the H&M collaboration, we want women all over the world to live a more confident, vibrant, fashionable life whilst juggling her fast-paced urban existence.The collection can be worn all day, every day, whilst being flexible, functional andstyle-led. All the pieces work so well together – it’s very easy to mix and match.”

The collection launches in H&M stores in Australia (and globally), as well as online, on March 5th, and by the looks of this it's going to sell its side-striped socks off. See below for some of our favourites from the range.

P.E Nation x H&M collection:

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