Self-love & the Impact of Social Media

As with anything in life social media has its pros and cons. It’s a great platform to bring people who share similar interests together. It also allows us to draw motivation and inspiration from others. However, social media can distort our perception of what is “normal” and often people can take drawing motivation and inspiration from others too far. 

Using fitness as an example, filling our social media feeds with people who are lean and shredded can lead us to view our bodies in a distorted manner. We can easily begin to focus on the negatives, believing that we need to look like these strangers online and have extremely low body fat percentage levels and a six pack.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that we can draw fitness motivation and inspiration from others. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy social media. I just think that when you start altering how you live your life (such as how many calories you eat, what you eat, how you train, how often you train, etc) to look like someone else you’ve taken it too far. 

You and your lifestyle are unique. You have different goals and priorities, so how you train, how often you train, how you eat and what you eat should be tailored to you, your lifestyle and your goals. They shouldn’t just be a carbon copy of someone else’s. 

Our bodies are constantly proving how amazing they are, but instead of celebrating the things we are great at we choose instead to bring ourselves down and focus on the things that we don’t like.

At the end of the day there are certain things that we can’t change and we have to learn to accept them. Don’t get get so caught up in what everyone’s doing to the detriment of your own life. You are not a stranger on the internet, nor should you want to be.

I’m not claiming to have perfected the relationship with myself, as with any relationship in life it is not perfect, but I am working on it and I am investing in it because it is important. Changing my mindset and continually working on building a better relationship with myself has improved all areas of my life. Not only do I choose to focus on the positives but I’ve come to learn to love the things I once hated about myself.

Just some food for thought. 

Jay xx

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

Supplements & Your Fitness Goals

Nowadays there are a whole range of supplements promising things from fat-loss to muscle gain. These claims are then substantiated by endorsements and advertisements from fitness models on IG and other social media platforms. Leading the average person to believe that they need to take these things in order to achieve the results that their fitness role models have. This was the belief I held at the start of my fitness journey. 

Firstly I want to make clear that this post by no means is trying to say that all supplements are nonsense. I believe that certain supplements if used correctly can be beneficial. However, I think that many especially those who are new to fitness are a bit too eager on their use of supplementation. A supplement is defined as “a thing which is added to something else in order to complete or enhance it.” In other words supplements should be used to boost or enhance your training, diet and recovery they aren’t a replacement for these things. You can use all the supplements you want but if your training and nutrition aren’t on point you won’t achieve your desired results. Not to mention that supplements usually don’t come cheap. 

In my humble opinion supplements are not necessary to achieve your fitness goals. To me the main components to achieve your goals be they to lose fat or build muscle are to focus on training, nutrition and recovery. 

The message I hope you take from this is don’t over complicate your life with supplements. Focus on getting your training, nutrition and recovery on point. Once you’ve done that, then maybe explore and have a look at supplementation. 

Just some food for thought 

Jay xx

The Perfect Diet

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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

You’ve Finally Got A Gym Membership: Now What?

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So you finally took a step towards achieving your goals and joined the gym. Now what? 

The gym can be a bit of a daunting place, especially if you’re new to it. So I thought I’d share a few tips with you guys regarding what your next steps should be:

  1. Set a goal = Sit down and have a think about what it is that you want to get out of the gym. Maybe you want to get stronger, build muscle, lose weight or generally just improve your lifestyle.
  1. Create a plan = Once you’ve determined what your goal is, you should set up a plan that will help you to achieve your goal. 
  1. Create a routine and build discipline = Don’t overwhelm yourself and try to do too much at once. Focus on creating sustainable habits you can keep up in the long-term. 
  1. Ask for help = Get an experienced gym buddy or personal trainer to help you out. A training buddy/personal trainer has the added bonus of giving you motivation and making you more accountable. 

Hope you guys find these tips helpful.

Jay xx

Measuring Your Fitness Progress

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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

DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

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Firstly WTF are DOMS?

Have you ever felt pain and stiffness in your muscles several hours or even days after working out or performing some type of physical activity? Have simple activities such as walking, picking up things you’ve dropped on the floor or even going to toilet ever felt difficult the day (or a few days) after a workout? Well, that my friends is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). 

Put more eloquently DOMS can be defined as “a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitise nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.”

What Causes DOMS and who is affected?

DOMS can affect anyone and typically occur when someone is starting workout out, when changing up an exercise routine and performing new/different movements or when the duration or intensity of a workout is increased. 

Will I always get DOMS?

Overtime (if you are consistent with your exercise routine) your body and muscles will begin to adapt to the physical demands being placed on them. This results in increased stamina, strength and recovery and decreased soreness and stiffness after exercise. 

How do I make my DOMS go away?

  • Rest – ensure you are giving your muscles enough time to repair and recover after exercise.
  • Ice or Heat – Studies have shown that applying ice or heat to the affected muscles can result in a reduction of pain.
  • Gentle Massage – Studies have also shown that gentle massages can result in “a reduction of the duration and severity of DOMS.”
  • Physical Activity – While this point my seem counterintuitive research has shown that certain activities such as cycling and swimming can ease muscle soreness and stiffness (however, only temporarily). 

Preventing DOMS?

In some cases DOMS will be unavoidable and while you can’t prevent it outright there are a few things you can do to minimise its effects:

  • If you’re new to exercise or using a new exercise routine be sure to build up to it gradually, that way you give your muscles time to adapt. 
  • Ensuring that you are getting the right type of nutrition before and after a workout can help to ease soreness.

Just some food for thought

Jay

Getting Your Body Summer Ready

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Last week Thursday those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere officially welcomed summer. For many people the start of summer acts as a reminder of the goals and intentions that we set out at the start of the year to exercise more and eat better. 

I’m a big fan of anything that gets people moving and makes them more mindful of what their eating. However, a big issue with the coming of this season is that people usually engage in drastic and restrictive forms of diet and exercise to fulfil short-lived (if even achieved) goals. 

In light of that, I thought I’d share a few tips with you guys to help you not just achieve you a summer body but to achieve your dream body and maintain it: 

  1. Fitness is a state of constant becoming, it’s not a destination: Unless you’re competing for a physique competition and require strict dieting, you should aim to only implement eating and exercise habits that you can see yourself sticking to in the long-term. Here’s the thing, just because you achieve your goal doesn’t mean that you get to stop eating well and exercising. These things have to continue to allow you to maintain your goal once you get there. Chances are that if you hate what you’re eating and the way you’re training, you’ll be unlikely to stick to your training and nutrition plans in the long-term. 
  1. Patience, patience and some more patience: We live in a society where pretty much anything we want is available to us at the click of a button. Unfortunately, we can’t just amazon prime our dream body. You didn’t get to where your are overnight, so you are not going to get to where you want to be overnight either. I can’t stress this point enough. For the majority of us, achieving our dream bodies will take a long time. But, ultimately the time is going to go by anyway, so we may as well spend it doing something productive. 
  1. Expect mistakes and setbacks: There is no such thing as perfection. Achieving your dream body is not going to be a linear journey. There are going to be ups and downs. The important thing is not to give up. Learn from mistakes and learn to better cope with things that get you off track. 

Now I know that none of these tips may be what you guys wanted to hear. Trust me if there was an Amazon Prime for your dream body I’d be the first one ordering it. I do hope you guys find these tips helpful. Train smart, eat well and enjoy life.

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

5 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight

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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

According to Jay: My Approach to Nutrition

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It’s taken me a while and a lot of trial and error to find an approach to nutrition which works for me. Having spent so many years in a toxic relationship with food, I’ve now been able to find balance and create a healthy relationship. I’m not in any way trying to suggest that anyone else needs to take the same approach as me, because ultimately everyone will have different aspects of nutrition that they struggle with and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, but if you are struggling I’m hoping that some of these tips which have helped me will be helpful to you as well.

  1. Making it a lifestyle = In the past I was always guilty of relying on quick fixes or going to extremes which were ultimately unsustainable. My number one rule now is always to ensure that I can see myself adhering to any measures I implement in the long-term. If not then it’s not the right approach for me.
  1. De tudo um pouco = Everything in moderation. I find that as soon as I create restriction in my diet I focus on whatever it is that I’m restricting even more which in the past has led to a lot of binge eating and “diet re-starts on Monday” mentality. Instead I focus on ensuring that the majority of my meals are made up of nutrient dense foods while still allowing myself to enjoy all my favourite things.
  1. No labelling and being aware of trigger foods = I no longer label foods as being good or bad. In the past I always considered that to be healthy I had to cut bread out of my diet, whereas now I’ve learned that through portion control I can still enjoy bread (and other foods that I had previously labelled as being bad) and still achieve my goals. The key for me in being able to do this has been to learn which foods I can portion out. For instance If I buy a packet of biscuits I’m eating it all in one sitting. I still enjoy biscuits mind, but I know that it’s one of the foods I just can’t have in the house.
  1. Keep it simple = Far too often we over complicate things for ourselves which can make us feel overwhelmed and then we end up giving up altogether. Ultimately I eat foods that I enjoy in a manner that help me to both achieve my goals and be consistent.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx