Are You Still on Track to Achieving Your Goals?

 

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With the first month of 2018 coming to an end how are the goals you set for yourself at the start of the year shaping up? Have you managed to stay on track or have you given up already?

If you’ve given up: 

One of the main reasons people give up on goals is because they try to change too much at once. I was listening to a podcast the other day featuring Jamie Alderton and he gave this amazing analogy he said that when we first learn to drive a car we spend most of the lesson in discussion and figuring out what everything is, what it does and how it works. We aren’t taken onto the motorway on our very first lesson.

Yet when it comes to the gym this is exactly what people do. Instead of making small manageable changes (i.e focusing on getting into the gym a set number of days and then once that is achieved moving on to make another change) we attempt to change everything at once. This then causes us to feel overwhelmed and stressed and before we know it we’ve given up on our goals.

If you can relate to this try focusing on making small manageable changes. For example lets say you set yourself over the course of month to go the gym 3x a week (which is totally do-able). Once you’ve done this you can then maybe look at adding an additional gym session as well as focusing on being more diligent in terms of your nutrition and movement outside of the gym. Now guys this is just meant to serve as an example of how you may go about doing this. It doesn’t need to be in this order or even this way. All I want you guys to take from this is that you need to be patient and take this process one step at a time.

Another reasons people tend to give up on their goals is that they don’t realise that “being fit isn’t some magical permanent state of being. It’s an act of constant becoming.” When I first started my fitness journey I was naive enough to believe that everything I was doing to achieve my goals (i.e. training hard and eating well) was temporary. When the reality was that my goal was temporary. I’ve learnt that just because you’ve achieved your desired end result doesn’t meant that you should stop exercising and eating well.

I’ve also learnt the approach needed when it comes to fitness is to view it as a lifestyle change. Can you see yourself doing the things (i.e. workouts and approach to nutrition) a year from now? If you can’t this is most likely a sign that the approach you’ve chosen isn’t right for you. You are human, you will make mistakes, but as long as the approach you’ve chosen allows you to be consistent and you can see yourself using it a year from now, five years from now and even ten years from now then you’re on the right track to achieving your goals.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

For the Newbies: 5 tips to help boost your confidence in the gym

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The gym can be an extremely intimidating place if you’re new to it, especially the free weights area. People fear doing things wrong, looking silly and being judged by other (more experienced) gym goers. This lack of confidence then leads to people either continually doing cardio (as the machinery is easier to figure out) or avoiding the gym and exercise altogether.

Not too long ago I shared these same concerns and would like to share with you guys a few tips which helped me to boost my confidence in the gym:

  1. Go in with a plan = No matter how much experience you have, going to the gym without a set course of action of what your session will entail can lead to a bad session and confusion. Take a few minutes to write down exactly what you are going to do. Not only does this help to ensure that you use your time in the gym efficiently, but if you have any doubts about anything at this stage you can ask someone or look it up.
  1. Get yourself a gym buddy = Having someone to workout with can make the gym seem less intimidating. A gym buddy can also help keep you motivated and make you more accountable. If you’re able to get a training partner who has more experience in the gym you also gain to learn from them.
  1. Personal Training = No matter what stage you’re at in your fitness journey I believe that there is always room for improvement and for the broadening of knowledge. Getting advice and help from a personal trainer (especially if you’re new) can give you the tools necessary to navigate yourself around the gym with confidence.
  1. Make a playlist that makes you feel like the badass you truly are = Countless studies have shown that music can have a positive impact on our mood. On my way to the gym I always like to listen to music that puts me in a good mood and gets me pumped to smash a workout.
  1. The opinions of others don’t matter = Unless you’re doing something that could cause you harm or injury what other people think of you is none of your business. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this but most people in the gym, particularly in the free weights area are busy looking at themselves in the mirror. Don’t get put off going to them gym because of what other people will do or say about you. Everybody makes mistakes, there is nothing wrong with being corrected or helped in the gym.

Hope you guys find these tips useful

Jay xx

Quick Fixes: Waist Trainers & Detoxes

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I don’t know about you guys but lately my social media feeds have been filled with these “miracle” products that promise an array of things from dramatic weight loss in only a few days to the complete removal of cellulite. To make matters worse some of these products are promoted by influencers such as IG models and celebrities which leave people convinced that these types of products actually work and see them wasting their money on them.

We live in a society where we are constantly taught to love and accept others but rarely reminded that this love and acceptance should be applied to ourselves. When we covet something we want to have it as soon as possible and in the easiest manner possible. So it comes as no surprise why products which are marketed to our insecurities promising quick and easy results become so popular.

The non-sexy and unmarketable truth about achieving fitness goals (or any goal for that matter) is that they take time (a lot of it), patience, hard work, discipline and dedication. You didn’t get to where you are overnight, so you’re not going to get to where you want to be overnight. If a product is offering you something that seems too good to be true, the likelihood is that it probably is.

Lets talk about some of these for a minute:

Waist Trainers: these are based on corsets which were worn in the 16th century. The logic behind them is that if you wear them for a certain period of time everyday you will see a reduction of size in your waist.

    • There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that the shape of your body can be altered through the use of spot reduction.
    • While the illusion of an hour-glass figure created by a waist trainer is temporary the damage caused by waist trainers can be permanent including damage to internal organs, the spine and ligaments.

Detoxes: The idea here is that after an indulgent period of eating (such as the holiday season) you can wash away toxins that have been accumulated by the body (from unhealthy foods and drinks to the polluted air that we breathe) by drinking juiced vegetables and fruits. One of the main benefits other than removing these toxins from the body is weight-loss.

    • Doctors and investigations conducted over some these detoxes have found that they aren’t backed by science
    • Edzard Ernst a Professor of Medicine at the University of Exeter has said that “the healthy body has kidney’s, a liver, lungs and skin” that detox the body
      • The best way to react after an indulgent period is just to eat well and to exercise
    • Moreover the weight that is lost during these detoxes is not fat it is water which will comeback as soon as you start eating food again.

The message to take home is do your research before you use or buy products. Don’t just use them because your favourite IG model or celebrity is using them.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Halo Top Creamery: A Review

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2018 is off to a great start with Halo Top finally becoming available in the UK. For those of you who may not know Halo Top is a “low calorie, high protein, low sugar” ice cream made using natural ingredients and boasting a variety of flavours ranging from vanilla to red velvet.

Having seen so much hype about it on instagram I’ve been dying to get a hold of some and last weekend I finally got my chance. I bought 2 tubs vanilla bean and cinnamon roll.

Jay’s Verdict: 

The entire tub of vanilla bean contains 240 Kcal and cinnamon roll 360 Kcal (typical pint of regular ice cream contains 960 calories)

The texture is slightly more creamy than ice-cream

Taste wise the vanilla bean flavour was pretty spot on (pretty much identical to ice-cream) the cinnamon roll flavour had a bit of a sugary after taste, but was still amazing

Score wise I’d give the vanilla bean a 9/10 and the cinnamon roll and 8/10

I think that Halo Top is a great alternative for anyone wanting to watch calorie intake and still wanting to enjoy some ice cream. Honestly even if you aren’t watching what you’re eating I would still highly recommend it. Its available at Tesco for £5 per tub.

So far I’ve enjoyed it on its own and have topped my protein pancakes with it. I’m going to do a lot more experimenting with it and will hopefully have some recipes up for you guys soon.

Make sure to give it a try

Jay xx

Balance: Working Towards a Healthy Relationship with Food

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Growing up my mom always used to say “de tudo um pouco” which essentially means everything in moderation. From experience with clients and friends it shocks me to see how many people still demonise certain foods or feel guilt when eating certain things like pizza or chocolate. Don’t get me wrong guys, there is an element of discipline required in order to achieve your fitness goals which means you can’t always eat exactly what you want but that shouldn’t mean that you never allow yourself to enjoy a few treats.

Basically:

  • If you eat more energy than you burn you will put on weight
  • If you eat the same amount of energy that you burn you will maintain weight
  • If you eat less energy than you burn then you will lose weight

Now this is a massive oversimplification but I’ve used it to illustrate the fact that if you eat well most of the time the occasional treat won’t derail your progress. In fact allowing yourself the occasional treat can help keep you sane and help you stick to your routine in the long run.  I have found through personal experience and through closely following the journey’s of others that when our diets are too restrictive it leads to binging, feelings of guilt and the use of extreme methods to try to undo the damage.

Allowing for flexibility in your diet also means that you don’t have to avoid social events or feel anxious about them. Now with the ability to track macros through the use of apps such as MyFitnessPal it is even possible to fit these treats into your diet without being in a calorie surplus thus allowing you to still work towards your goals.

Guys what balance looks like will be different for every individual and finding it may be a case of trial and error but its important to find what works for you and not looking at food as an enemy. If you feel that your diet is too restrictive and you’re finding it hard to stick to it will be unlikely that it will work out for you in the long-term. Remember consistency is key, being consistent in the long term is much better than bursts of being perfect. Taking an approach which allows for balance between doing what you need to do to achieve your goals and allowing you the ability to enjoy a treat can be the key to helping you be consistent.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

5 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

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Hey guys if you ever struggle to figure out what to have for breakfast or are just looking to try something new, then this post is for you. Here are 5 of my favourite healthy breakfast ideas:

1.Smoked salmon and eggs on Toast

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Smoked salmon on multigrain bread with 1/2 an avocado and a soft-boiled egg

2.Protein Pancakes 

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White chocolate protein pancakes topped with greek yoghurt infused with raspberries, topped with fresh raspberries. (for recipe check my older post Protein Pancake Recipe)

3.Green Tuna Egg Muffins 

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Blend together 2 eggs, a tin of drained tuna, 2 handfuls of spinach, 15 grams of feta cheese. Bake at 180 for 12-15 min and enjoy with a side of hummus

4.PB & J

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Peanut butter and jam on multigrain toast topped with half a banana and a handful of fresh raspberries

5.Greek Yoghurt & Oats 

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250g 0% fat greek yoghurt mixed together with 3 tablespoons of rolled porridge oats. Topped with fresh raspberries, 10 crushed hazel nuts and 2 squares of dark chocolate.

Hope you enjoy

Jay xx

Do Women Need to Use Different Protein Powder?

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Protein is a macro-nutrient used by our bodies for several important functions ranging from repairing and building muscles to aiding our immune system. I’m a huge believer in obtaining nutritional needs from natural and whole foods. That being said protein powder can be extremely helpful and convenient for those who are struggling  to meet their protein intake requirements or for those moments when we need a quick meal. Protein powders typically contain 20g of protein per scoop and are available in a variety of flavours and can be consumed as drink or food.

Picking protein can already be a daunting task with there being so many different types. On top of that there are now brands who are creating protein powder just for women. So do women really need to use different protein powder compared to men?

Some of these protein powders catered to women contain female specific vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6 and folic acid which are important in female growth. They also lower the amount of protein per scoop since women don’t require the same protein content as men. However, not all female specific protein powders do this and not to mention that with many brands these proteins tend to be more expensive than regular protein.

What to take from this is if you’re going to purchase a female specific protein powder:

  • Make sure you look at the nutritional information and ensure that it has female specific vitamins and minerals which can be beneficial to you
  • Don’t let brand marketing fool you into buying overly expensive protein

Personally ladies when I do use protein powder I just use a standard kind as they are essentially the same and perfectly safe for us to take.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Bootyvation 2k18: The Benefits of Strong Gluteal Muscles Revisited

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Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post on the benefits of strong gluteal muscles and the importance of training legs. I thought it would be worthwhile revisiting these benefits as well as giving you guys one of my favourite leg workouts to try.

While training to strengthen and enhance the booty has been gaining a lot of attention recently I have found that a) there is still some confusion as to which exercises will actually help you achieve this and b)  that there are still quite a few men avoiding certain exercises (such as hip thrusts) or avoiding training the booty at all. The importance and benefits of training these muscles goes far beyond aesthetics. So make sure you’re not neglecting them.

The gluteus maximus, medius and minimus are the largest muscle group within the body and make up the booty. These muscles work together to stabilise, extend, rotate and abduct the hip. Having strong gluteal muscles helps to:

  • Prevent injury = Strong gluteal muscles can reduce the risk of injury in the knees, lower back and hamstrings. When our booty muscles aren’t strong enough other muscles which aren’t as well suited for the job take over which can potentially lead to pulled muscles and injuries (ouch!)
  • Improve athletic performance = Our gluteal muscles are essential in virtually all sports (as well as in the gym). Strong booty muscles can help in making faster, more agile and able to produce more explosive movements. They basically help us to train at our highest capacity
  • They look good = Looking good means feeling good. Fellas don’t be selfish, girls like booty too 🙂

Jay’s go to Booty Workout

  1. Sumo deadlift 4×10
  2. Barbell hip thrust 4×10
  3. Leg press (single leg) feet positioned high 3×12 (each leg)
  4. DB walking lunges 3×12 (each leg) (making sure to take long strides to place emphasis on hamstring and glute muscles)
  5. Sideways cable kicks 4×10 (each leg)
  6. Finisher: 10 box jumps into burpees
  7. 60s rest between all sets

Seriously guys, don’t skip leg day!

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Happy New Year: The Importance of Self-love

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Happy New Year everyone. I hope you’ve all made the most of the holiday season whether your were spending time at home with loved ones or traveling the globe. The end of one year and the start of another is an opportunity for us to reflect on the year just past and to work on what we hope to achieve and improve in the year to come.

One of my favourite things about the New Year is the enthusiasm and motivation people get to set goals and start new healthy habits. To kick off my blog this year and celebrate its first birthday I thought I’d focus on the importance of self love.

Thinking about what to post about today one topic kept creeping up in my mind and that was about  the negative way that so many people who I know and love talk about themselves. Why is it that we tend to focus so much on the things that we don’t like? I myself have been guilty of such thinking. Many of us are convinced that if we speak about ourselves in this negative narrative it will help give us the push to change. However, the opposite is true, instead all we achieve is a low-self esteem and low sense of self-worth. Why wait until you’ve lost “x” amount of weight to wear something or put yourself through gruelling juice detoxes and drastic diets to feel miserable and to get results that are short-lived.

One of the dangers of this “I’ll be satisfied when” mentality is that more often than not if you are not happy in the current state that you are in you are unlikely to be happy when you have achieved your goal. Mostly because the issues will stem a lot deeper and will be much more complex. This is not to say that you can’t have a sense of self-love and still want to improve on your current state of affairs.

I’d like to share with you guys my a bit of my own personal experience. From 14 years old, the one dominant thing I had noticed were my legs and I have spent most of the years since then ashamed of them and trying to hide them. They are big and thick and make finding clothes an awkward and nightmarish experience. My solution was to wear baggy pants and try to keep people from noticing them as much as possible. I was convinced that if I lost weight my legs would become smaller and that I’d finally be happy and be able to wear shorts, skirts, dresses and tight trousers with confidence. In 2016 when I competed in a fitness competition, I was the leanest I’d every been and yet my two enemies were still there as dominant as I could remember them from when I was 14. It was around that time that I came to terms with the fact that my legs are something that I can’t really change much. Instead of hating them for how they look I decided to take a different perspective and focus on what they can do and what they help me achieve. After that I worked on wearing shorts, skirts and dresses more often. There are still those moments when I feel self-conscious but then I just remind myself of what my legs can do and that the only opinion that is important when it comes to my body is my own.

The message I hope that you guys take away from this ( which has now become some sort of rant, many apologies)  is that you need to work on the relationship with yourself and focus on that self-love because unless you do it won’t matter what you achieve, you’ll constantly be chasing an elusive feeling. Remember you need to accept what you can’t change and change what you don’t like.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx