Team Whistles On The Activities That Motivate And Inspire Them

Being active means different things to different people, and we think that’s worth celebrating.

Whether you’ve dedicated yourself to an activity long term, you enjoy team sports or you’ve just taken up a new hobby, our new activewear collection honours all types of movement. With that in mind, we asked our fellow members of team Whistles to share their journeys of movement with us, and we photographed them practising their favourite sports and hobbies in our new collection.

As we sat down to talk to each individual, we were reminded that being active isn’t always about being the best at something. In fact, it’s more about the way staying active can make you feel, the people it brings you closer to, the places it can take you and the ways in which we can continue to surprise ourselves. After all, it’s really never too late to try something new.

Amber...On passing on your favourite sport

For those who haven’t heard about artistic roller skating, can you tell us a bit about it and how you got into it?

It’s kind of like dancing but on roller skates. It’s very similar to ice skating, again, on roller skates. You have set routines and dance moves and there’s those elements like spins and jumps that are similar. I used to go to roller discos with my brother on a Friday night and afterwards there would be a roller dance club. I asked my Mum if I could try it once and then there was no looking back.

How did it become part of your life? And how is it part of your life today?

I actually used to compete and started doing so when I was quite young, then I worked my way up the levels and competed at a higher level each time. I started competing in championships to represent Great Britain and travelled abroad, which I did for years. Now I skate more as and when I want to, and coach a little bit on the side. My old coach asks me to come in from time to time to help teach young people and children skating and show them the moves.

Amber McCulloch, Buyers Admin Assistant

I love coaching young people as I feel like I’m actually helping other people to grow in confidence, which is really rewarding.

What does coaching mean to you? What do you hope to pass on to the children you coach?
I love coaching children as I feel like I’m actually helping other people to grow in confidence, which is really rewarding. I like to support them and show them they can do this, rather than just giving up. I encourage them to stick at it and give it their all. I’ve watched a lot of children improve and grow so much over the years, which is amazing.

Advice to those who want to take up a new activity?
Just go for it. If it’s something you want to do, try not to worry too much about not being good at it, or hurting yourself, or all the things that could go wrong. Life is too short to not try something you might really love and enjoy.

Life is too short to not try out something you might really love and enjoy.

Zoelle Sagoe, Brand Marketing & Communications Admin Assistant

Zoelle…on team sports and new friendships

When did you first start playing football? How did you get into it?
I first started playing football in primary school with the boys and due to my keen interest in the sport, I wanted to start training properly. Secondary school was when I actually started to play properly at an after school club in a small group of girls. One of my older family friends was also training to be a professional football player and whenever I would go round their house, I would play with him too.

How does it feel to have a sport you know you can return to, and pick back up?
To return to a sport that I know I can pick back up makes me feel like I still have something I am passionate about and it’s something that can distract me from the everyday pressures of life. When I play again, it makes me feel like I’ve still got it.

What’s the best thing about team sports for you?
The best thing about team sports is that you and your teammates all have the same goal and you want to achieve that by working together. It’s all about putting people’s different views and perspectives into play. It’s special because you all have a shared passion for a sport and you all want to be the best you can be at it.

The best thing about team sports is that you and your teammates all have the same goal and you want to achieve that by working together.

What has playing and enjoying football brought to your life?
On top of it keeping me active, it has also brought new relationships and friendships that I never would have seen coming.

Valentina… On enjoying the process of moving

Why do you cycle? How did you get into it?
It actually stemmed from my interest in photography. A friend of mine who was into photography recommended cycling and photographing cyclists as a way to capture movement in interesting ways. I used to go to these race events which were huge, and hundreds of cyclists gathered there. One day I thought, ok, I can do that too. It looked so fun and so challenging, yet cyclists always wear a smile on their face. I wanted to be involved. It’s amazing combining all the things I love and seeing new, beautiful places whilst staying fit.

What do you love most about cycling? How does it make you feel?
It keeps my body happy and working but it keeps me mentally happy too. As a sport, it’s not always that high impact, you’re sitting and pedalling and your upper body is resting. Your legs and core do most of the work. However, mentally it makes me feel stronger. For example, if you take a very steep hill, you can trick your mind into completing it by staying patient and strong, and thinking I can do this. This is a mindset you can take to other parts of your life too – it’s proof that you can put your mind to anything.

It’s amazing combining all the things I love whilst cycling; seeing new and beautiful places whilst staying fit.

Valentina Tuatova, Sales Assistant, Chiswick

Where are some of the most interesting places cycling has taken you?
I’ve been to a few interesting cycling events. One was long distance cycling from France to Italy and Switzerland, which was really challenging and I could only take a light backpack full of things. You meet new interesting people at these events and see the world from a different perspective, which is one of the things I love most.

How do outdoor activities support and improve your wellbeing?
After work if you feel drained, it’s great to go outside. Like most runners and cyclists, I like training in this way and I like to be alone outdoors. It’s when I can think properly, or stop thinking all together, and just enjoy the process. My father was the same and he always said it doesn’t matter what sports you do, just enjoy the process. You might not always be satisfied with the results but the process is where you can let go and enjoy it. I feel proud that I can enjoy those moments.

You might not always be satisfied with the results but the process is where you can let go and enjoy it.

What advice would you give to those new to cycling, who might be nervous about taking it up?
I don’t really like cycling in the city – I much prefer the countryside. If you’re daunted by the idea of cycling on busy roads, find somewhere more quiet in lots of open space to start your cycling journey. Don’t make cycling just about commuting either, be a little more adventurous once you’re comfortable.

Helena Stocks, Content and Social Media Editor

Helena… On returning to the sport you’ve always loved

How did tennis become part of your life?
I started learning to play tennis when I was seven at group lessons with my friends, so it was always good fun. I carried on playing throughout secondary school and college, yet I didn’t keep it up at university. I’ve played sporadically since then but I’ve only recently started making an effort to play regularly and joined a club again in London.

What do you love about it?
It’s very nostalgic for me as I used to play weekly growing up and I loved my club. I also have spent a lot of time playing with my Dad, who helped me to practise, so it’s a special sport for that reason. There’s a lot of memories. I also love that even though I’ll always have basic skills and be able to have a rally, there’s still work to be done. You can always improve when it comes to tennis, which is something that keeps me motivated. I like to keep learning and find new ways to push myself.

I also love that even though I’ll always have basic skills and be able to have a rally, there’s still work to be done. I like to find new ways to push myself.

What’s the best thing about a sport you can play solo and as a team?
It can be as social as you make it. In singles you’re representing yourself but there’s also the social element of rallying before a match and playing with someone who is like-minded to you. When it comes to doubles, there’s definitely a sense of unity and support with your partner too. You rely on communication, whether it’s swapping sides or acknowledging each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You figure out how to play in harmony together.

What would you say to those who want to take up a new sport that feels quite technical?
Everyone has to start somewhere. I practice with a girl who only started to learn to play tennis a few years ago, and she can now hold her own in a rally and a match with ease. It’s never too late to start learning a technical sport. With tennis, I’d really recommend coaching because it’s easy to pick up bad habits if you start playing without any guidance.

If there’s a sport you used to play growing up, it might be worth giving it a try again – you’ll be surprised what skills and muscle memory you’ve retained.
Ella… On embracing the activity you’ve always wanted to try

What inspired you to take up boxing and how did you start practising?
It was something that I always wanted to do. There are lots of cool classes and boxing clubs in London too but in the end, I fell into it. I joined a gym with free classes and one of them was box fit and I assumed it would be air boxing, or something more aerobic. When we went in though there was a trainer and everyone was putting on gloves and pads. It was such a good workout, I couldn’t wait to go back. The next day, parts of my body were hurting that I’d never felt hurt before. It’s great for my mental health too.

What’s your favourite thing about the activity?
I think it is just knowing that you’ve had a proper workout and I don’t watch the time when I’m boxing. I’m not willing for it to be over. It’s disciplined too, which I like. Even when you’re changing gloves and pads, they count you down to do so. Everything has structure and the class is so varied; there’s big guys and then there’s older women, yet we’re all there for the same activity and discipline.

Ella Ghazizadeh, Established Buyer

Everything in our boxing class has structure and the class is so varied; there’s big guys and there’s older women. Yet we are all there for the same discipline.

What has trying new activities taught you about yourself?
It’s nerve wracking doing something new, whatever it is, but I think it opens you up and makes you wonder what else you’re capable of. There could be so many things out there that you might love. Also, I’ve learnt it’s best to just go for it. I always had in the back of my head that I’d love to do boxing, yet it still took me a while to try it. If you’ve got something in your mind that you think you might be good at, give it a go. Don’t wait.

What advice would you give people who are keen to start a new sport, or boxing?
I think it helps finding someone else that wants to do the same activity as you. My boyfriend did boxing with me and having a companion can make you less nervous to go to the class and there’s someone to talk to about it afterwards. If you’re really nervous, that can take the edge off.

It’s always nerve wracking trying something new – whatever it is – but it opens you up and makes you wonder what else you’re capable of.
Phoebe… On exploring new places through running

What has your journey and experience with running been like? How has it changed?
My mum is an athletics coach so growing up I was on the track a lot and that was my first introduction. I never really enjoyed it as a child though. I found it a bit too competitive. Then when I was 18 I got my ballot post for my first London marathon and I went for it, and I got one again when I was 20. I got a lot from training for the marathons even though it was really hard. Since I’ve gotten older I’ve got into running more as a way to get outside and release stress. It can be really hard sitting at a desk all day and running is an escape from that at the end of the day – even if it’s just a 5k for less than half an hour.

What do you love most about running?
I like using it as a way to release stress and get outside. It’s a way to explore for me. I love when I go away and can try out a new park run or somewhere in the countryside. Last week I went to Devon and got to explore there and it’s always refreshing to run in a new setting.

Running is a way to explore for me. I love it when I go away and can try out a new park run or somewhere in the countryside.

Phoebe Steer, Assistant Merchandiser

What are some of your favourite running routes closer to home?
I live in St Albans but I love all the countryside nearby; I like to get out to green space. I prefer running in the countryside to running on the road as it’s easier on the legs. My grandma also lives on the River Thames though so that’s a favourite route of mine.

Do you prefer to run alone or with people?
Nowadays I run alone mostly as I like getting some time to myself but I also sometimes run with my Mum and dog, which can be really nice. Running can be independent but really social too, which is great.

What’s your advice for new runners, or those who are daunted by the idea of taking up running?
I’d always say it can be really hard but just take the first step and it’ll gradually get easier. I love Parkrun and you’ll never be the last person there – there will nearly always be someone behind you, so it’s great for beginners. If running is something you want to do for a social element, joining a club is always really good. Sometimes when I am lacking motivation, I find entering a social race can help get me back on track too.

Running can be really hard but just take the first step. Once you take that dive it will only get easier.


Photographer: Matt Moran
Talent: Amber McCulloch, Zoelle Sagoe, Valentina Tuatov, Helena Stocks, Ella Ghazizadeh, Phoebe Steer,
Photographer’s Assistants: Harry Burner, Georgia Fay Williams
Digi Operator: Samuel Hearn
Hair + Makeup Artist: Jessie Owen
Feature Writer: Helena Stocks



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