The Girl Behind the Quads: How I Keep Myself Motivated!

The thing you have to understand about motivation is that it is fickle, unreliable and dependent on our moods and feelings. Many of us will be motivated when we set a new goal or start a new routine (new year resolutions are the perfect example of this). However, as soon as that novelty wears off and we start to hit obstacles (which make achieving our goals more difficult) motivation can quickly become useless. 

How do I manage to stay motivated and keep training? The short and honest answer is that I don’t. Motivation for me is something that comes and goes. When I’ve got it, I use it to my advantage and exploit the living hell out of it.

So what do I do during those motivational dry spells (which  can feel endless)? What keeps me going and helps get me to the gym?

  1. Accountability: I decided to get myself a personal trainer because I find that having someone to answer to makes me more likely to hit the gym (and continue working towards my goals) especially when I don’t want to.
  1. Setting short term goals: For the majority of us, our goals will take quite some time to achieve. Setting some short term goals (which can be anything from aiming to hit 10,000 steps a day to committing to taking a packed lunch to work) can help to give you extra boosts of motivation.
  1. Perspective: This one goes out to all my fellow perfectionists. Sometimes when things don’t go to plan we decide to say “fuck it” and pretty much give up on everything else. Being aware that things aren’t going to be perfect, that sometimes you’ll eat more than you should or a session won’t feel as good as you’d hoped, is extremely important. It will allow you to see that moment for what it was (which is simply a bad moment). Even the world’s greatest athletes have their bad days. You need to be able to move on from it and get yourself back on track. 
  1. Music: Personally, I find that music helps me to get into the right mood and mindset to train.
  1. Habit and discipline: Saving the best for last! I think people often get too caught up and trying to be motivated when they should be focusing on being disciplined. By building discipline you eliminate the dependence on outside factors (such as your mood) and instead give yourself the tools to focus on the long term achievement of your goals through being consistent with your training. A good way to build discipline is simply by looking at going to the gym as a new habit you’re trying to form. Do it often enough and soon it will become second nature.

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

The Perfect Diet

94eb0f1c-a783-4afb-be43-357705a36817

With the “New Year, New You” movement in full swing people tend to be extremely conscious of what they are eating. It is amazing that everyone is being mindful of what they are putting in their bodies and keen to improve their relationships with food. The problem is that the approaches chosen to do this tend to be extreme or restrictive.

Most people give up on their New Year resolutions by February, which is why I’m not a fan of them (but that is a whole other blog post topic for another day). 

With so many fitness and nutrition ads plastered all over television and social media I thought it might be helpful to address a few things.

Firstly there is no such thing as the perfect diet. There isn’t one secret ingredient or a miracle weight-loss cure that will enable you to shed several pounds overnight. Anything that promises rapid weight-loss or claims to “boost” or “kick-start” your metabolism is most likely a load of bull. 

Secondly just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. We are all different and unique. Just because an approach or a lifestyle choice has worked for one of your close friends or someone you admire doesn’t mean it will work for you. Eating the same foods or amount of calories as your favourite IG model or YouTuber won’t yield the same results. 

Thirdly eating well doesn’t have to be complex nor does it mean eating foods you don’t enjoy. Far too often we over complicate things for ourselves which leads to us feeling overwhelmed. Eat foods you enjoy in a manner that will both help you achieve your goals and stay consistent in the long-term. 

I’m a big believer in balance when it comes to nutrition. This is tricky to define because a balanced approach will look different to everyone. What is balanced for one individual may not necessarily be balanced for another. 

It might be a case of trial and error until you find what works best for you, but if you can’t see yourself sticking to the approach to nutrition that you have chosen in the long-term, then you are doomed to fail before you even start. One of the main reasons that drastic approaches (i.e. cutting calories to an extremely low-level) don’t tend to work is because they are not enjoyable and more importantly unsustainable.

The key point I want you all to take from this post today is to make sure that you enjoy the approach you take and that it allows you to be consistent in the long-term. 

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

Being Active When You Work A 9-5

3B7DDDA8-EB0E-4AEA-BEDD-92D917A53CED

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time of year when it is cold, wet and dark outside. With Christmas just over a month away and social events at full swing our motivation and willpower is constantly being tested. 

It is very easy to lead a sedentary life at this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a lazy day here and there, but it is important to ensure that we get enough movement, especially if like me, you work a 9-5 desk job. So I thought I’d put a few tips together to help you stay active this festive season.

  1. Walk More: Consider walking to work more often. If you work too far away from your home, park further away or get off public transport a few stops earlier. You can also take a 15-20 minute walk during your lunch break, you’ll get some fresh air and exposure to natural light which can help give you a wee energy boost. 
  1. Make sure you have a nutrient dense diet: studies have shown that diets which are well-balanced and full of nutrient dense foods can lead to reduction in mood swing, anxiety and depression as well as providing our bodies with energy.
  1. Plan your gym Session: Plan ahead and create set days and times to head to the gym. Make sure you train at a time that suits you and your lifestyle the best, as this will help to ensure that you remain consistent. Getting a training buddy or investing in some personal training sessions can also help you to remain consistent with training by acting as additional sources of motivation and accountability. 
  1. Get involved in seasonal activities: embrace the cold and take on the elements while having fun through activities such as ice-skating, snowboarding and skiing.

Hope you guys find these helpful.

Jay xx

Review: Simply Simon – Peanut Butter Balls

IMG_0668 2

When it comes to sweet vs savoury, I’m team sweet. For that reason I always ensure that there is something in my meal prep that will satisfy my sweet tooth. Recently, though I found that I kept eating the same things. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy what I eat, but variety is the spice of life and I want to make sure that I don’t get bored with my food. I spoke to my good friend Simon and he supplied me with these amazing peanut butter balls in the photo above. 

Initial reaction: I felt that they were quite small, but was happily surprised at how filling these little guys were. I had three of them a day and not only did they satisfy my sweet tooth but they also helped give me a cheeky afternoon energy boost.

Texture: The oats on the outside of the peanut balls provides a nice crunch to compliment their soft gooey interior (trying my best to sound like one of the judges on Masterchef here).

Taste: If you like peanut butter these taste phenomenal.

Macros Per Peanut Butter Ball:

Calories: 71

Fat 2.3g

Carbs 12.2g

Protein 2g]

Simon also provides meal prep as well as cooking classes. You can find him on instagram @simplysimonchef or check out his website http://simplysimonchef.com 

If you’re interested (you’d be crazy not to be) be sure to get in touch with him. 

I know you’ll enjoy these as much as I did.

Jay xx

Right Now: Better You!

IMG_0680 2

 

With all the festivities and events around this time of year it can be easy to put off your fitness goals and tell yourself that you’ll start in the new year. The danger with this kind of mindset is that your motivation quickly disappears and before January has even come to end, you’ve already given up on your goals. There is also the risk that when the new year comes around you won’t start your fitness journey at all. 

Why do we struggle to adopt or maintain fit and healthy habits when we set ourselves fitness goals as a new years resolution? Quite simply, when embarking on our fitness journeys we tend to want to over-complicate and overdo things. For example: we’ll go from not going to the gym at all to going six times a week. The end result is that we are overwhelmed and find that our approach is unsustainable. We struggle to adhere to it and soon after give up on the goal altogether. 

So what can we do ensure that this does not happen again next year? There are still two months to go before the year is over, so instead of waiting until January we can make a start on our goals RIGHT NOW. Break it down, determine what your goal is. Do you want to lose weight, get leaner, get stronger, just exercise more and eat better? Once you’ve determined what your goal is you can create a plan that will help you to achieve that goal. Remember to keep things simple, focus on the basics. You wouldn’t go on the motorway in first driving lesson. The same applies to the gym. Focus on the basics: consistency, nutrition and recovery. Once you’ve nailed the basics you can then start playing around with training and nutrition and seeing what things work for you. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of the choices we make on a daily basis, because overtime these daily choices add up and can either be a benefit or a detriment to our overall goal. For example: right now my goal is to get stronger and hit a triple bodyweight deadlift. If I decide not to do one of my deadlift sessions this week, that decision doesn’t affect my goal in the long term, however, if this decision starts to become a habit and I’m missing sessions frequently this then adds up and I’m unlikely to achieve my goal in the long term. 

Key points to take away from today’s post:

  • There is no better time than the present, get started on your goals now.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself, take it slow and focus on the basics.
  • Focus on making small improvement everyday, because it’s these seemingly insignificant choices that have the biggest impact on our overall goal.

Just some food for thought.

Jay

Measuring Your Fitness Progress

642657C4-203D-40A2-B4FE-B6B291226368

Keeping track of our progress is one of the essential components to achieving our fitness goals. It allows us to determine whether or not our training and nutritional plans are working. 

Studies have shown that those who track their progress are more likely to stick to their fitness routines compared to those that don’t. 

One of the preferred and most popular methods for tracking progress is using the scale. While this is generally a good indicator of progress, it does have the potential to be deceiving. The issue with only tracking weight is that the scale does not account for changes in body composition and increases in our bodies muscle mass. Meaning that you can actually gain/maintain the same weight but lose inches. For a long time I didn’t understand this and had built a very negative relationship with the scale. It felt disheartening to be working hard in the gym and improving nutrition and not seeing the numbers go down.

So, I thought I would share with you guys a few other ways you can measure progress:

  1. Pictures = We see ourselves everyday and so will find it harder to notice the subtle changes that our bodies go through. Taking pictures and comparing them over time can be a good indicator as to whether or not your fitness routine and approach to nutritional are working for you. They also allow us to see changes in our bodies that we may have not even realised were taking place.
  1. Improved Strength and Endurance = Progress can be seen through improved strength. If you manage to perform an exercise at a heavier weight than before or you can perform more reps than before. Maybe you had a workout plan and you struggled to get through it and now you’re able to get through it a lot easier and faster. Progress can also be seen through improved recovery time.
  1. How your clothes fit = If your clothes fit better or you’ve gone down a size. Our clothes can be a really good indicator for fatloss or weight gain. 

Hope you guys find these helpful.

Jay xx

Raspberry, Cinnamon & Nutmeg Protein Muffins

IMG_0453

You guys have asked and I have listened. Here is the recipe for my delicious raspberry, cinnamon and nutmeg protein muffins with dark and white chocolate chips.

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 Scoop vanilla protein powder
  2. 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  3. 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 Teaspoon cocoa powder
  5. 1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 2 Tablespoons 0% fat greek yoghurt 
  8. 75 grams fresh raspberries
  9. 2 medium sized eggs
  10. 30ml almond milk
  11. 1 square dark chocolate and 1 square white chocolate

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees
  • Blend together the protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, greek yoghurt, raspberries, eggs and almond milk until mixture is well mixed and a smoothie like consistency.
  • Place your mixture into a muffin tin/cupcake moulds
  • Chop the chocolate up into smaller squares and place them on the top of the mixture
  • Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes
  • Let cool for 5 minutes 
  • Enjoy 

Hope you guys enjoy these as much as I did

Jay xx

Carbs: The Dark Lord of Macronutrients

IMG_7709

 

Firstly, what are carbs? 

Carbs (a.k.a carbohydrates) are molecules which are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbs are one of the three macronutrients that make up our diets. All carbs are made up of units called saccharides which form three basic carb types.

  1. Simple carbs also known as sugar
  2. Complex carbs also known as starch 
  3. Non-starch Polysaccharides (NSP) also know as fibre 

What do carbs do for us? 

Their primary role is to provide our bodies with energy, but carbs also play an important role in “the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs.” 

Why are Carbs seen as the source of all evil (a.k.a the Voldemort of the food world)?

Due to increasing waist lines of the general population in recent years, we have looked to find a way to explain it rather than accepting as a population we are over consuming food and doing less and less physical activity.  

It used to be fat that was demonised by the press and food industry. It is now Carbohydrates and sugars that are viewed as the problem. It is easy to blame sugar and carbohydrates as they are often found in the foods we overeat as well as fizzy drinks and fruit juices

So what is the point of all this info? 

CARBS WILL NOT MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT!

For many people the go to solution for losing weight is to cut carbs from their diet. Cutting carbs from your diet can lead to a large drop in weight, however, the weight lost will be made-up predominately of water and not body fat percentage. Often after a couple of weeks (if they even make it that long) people end up falling off the wagon and binge/over-eat. The end result is that they end up putting all the weight they lost back on. 

Why does this happen? 

Cutting carbs completely is not a sustainable way to diet as people will often experience low energy/mood as well as finding their food choices limiting and uninteresting. 

In fact, many studies have shown that calorie controlled diets which contain carbohydrate sources such as bread have a far higher adherence rate as well as being much more sustainable for the general population.

The take-away (no pun intended) from this blog post is that as long as you are eating in a calorie deficit, it does not matter if you are continuing to eat carbohydrates, fats or protein! 

Keep your protein high! Eat in a deficit! And you will lose weight!

Just some food for thought. 

Jay and Liam xx

5 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight

9CA9C133-4FD9-4E76-AADB-DE20775E4CB2

Weight loss is a relatively simple process. Note I said simple not easy. Let’s face it, ultimately when we want to lose weight we know exactly what it is that we need to do.  For example: it may be that we need to make better food choices and exercise more. So why is that we struggle so much with it? The answer is relatively simple, we struggle because implementing the changes we need to achieve our goals involves changing our habits and behaviour. Changing habits we have built over many years can be extremely challenging, but it is not impossible.

Here are 5 reasons you aren’t losing weight:

  1. You can’t find the time: I know this one is a bit of a cliché but it is so true. You can’t just expect to find the time to exercise. You should make the time for it. Treat your workouts the same way you would a doctor’s appointment. No one is going to make the time for you, you have to make the time for yourself.
  1. You’re underestimating how much you are eating: This one is a very common reason for struggling with weight loss. People often underestimate how much they are eating and don’t take into account all the little snacking that’s done throughout the day. ALL CALORIES COUNT. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you can’t enjoy treats and the foods that aren’t nutrient dense but make you happy. Just realise that these shouldn’t make up the majority of your diet. 
  1. You’re focused on the wrong things: Far too often people focus on minor factors that don’t really affect them or their goals. For example what the best time to workout is, what supplements they should be taking, whether HITT cardio is better than LISS cardio. Don’t get me wrong these are things that have a role to play eventually. But for the majority of us, the most important thing is to focus on building discipline, getting into a routine and being consistent.
  1. You’re not consistent: Following on from the last point consistency is key. You can’t expect to see results and weight-loss if you only eat well and exercise some of the time. It’s what you do most of the time that will determine what your results will be. Don’t be perfect, be consistent.
  1. You’re not getting enough good quality sleep: In a Harvard study conducted in 2008 experts concluded that “getting enough high-quality sleep may be as important to health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.” When we don’t get enough sleep we feel tired, grumpy and lack focus. While the odd  bad nights sleep won’t do us any harm, several nights of lack of sleep will have considerable negative impact on our fitness goals and our health. Not to mention lack of sleep can lead to increased appetite, which can lead to eating more which can result in weight gain.

Just some food for thought:

Jay xx

Being Healthy: Take Time Off the Gym

 

IMG_0261

Exercising and being disciplined are extremely important  factors when it comes to achieving our fitness goals. However, as with anything in life it is important that we implement balance and ensure that we get a break from our routines and give our bodies adequate time to rest and recover. 

Why is taking a break important?

  • Helps to prevent injury: exercising without taking time to rest means that your muscles run the risk of becoming overused which can lead to injuries 
  • Allows your muscles time to repair: rest days give our muscles time to grow and repair which ultimately allows you to gain benefits of the training that you’re doing. 
  • Helps to keep you from burning out both physically and mentally: exercising is a form of stress that we place on our bodies, when we place too much stress on our bodies we can burn ourselves out mentally (lacking motivation and enthusiasm to engage in activities that we typically enjoy) and physically (not seeing any progress in our training and even struggling to maintain the same intensity and consistency in our training).

Refusing to take rest days and not giving your body time to recover is not only counterproductive to the goals you hope to achieve, but it is also an extremely unhealthy way of thinking. 

This past week I didn’t train at all and was not as regimented with my nutrition as I would usually be. I didn’t lose my gains and I’ve not turned into a massive blob. Instead, I feel rested and ready to smash a new block of training. 

The key point I want you guys to take away from today’s post is the importance of listening to your body and your mind. Be sure to give yourself a break from your routine and speak out if you feel anxiety about taking time away from the gym.

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx