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

Self-Love: Practice Makes Progress

 

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We often overlook the things we can’t easily measure progress with and unfortunately self-love falls within this category. As with any other goal there will be good days. The ones where you feel confident and happy in your own skin. But, there will also be bad days, when you want to sit in your sweatpants with messy hair and drown your sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

No journey is linear. Regardless of the goal you set, there will be ups and down. The important thing is to keep practicing the habits that will help you make progress. No matter how small that progress may seem. 

Companies and society have been benefitting from our insecurities for years. We fear natural process such as ageing (getting wrinkles and grey hair) because we are constantly told that we should buy products to avoid it. Despite the fact that there is no such thing as perfection we constantly criticise ourselves and buy into products which cover up our uniqueness (which some people may refer to as flaws).

Life is too short to be spent trying to live up to societies expectations. So the following are a few practices which can help you continually make progress with self-love:

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others
  2. Lines on your stomach aren’t going to create eternal happiness
  3. Be kind to yourself 
  4. People are going to think what they want of you, regardless of what you say or do. So don’t bother yourself with what others think
  5. Practice speaking to yourself in the way you would speak to those you love. 

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Tips to keep your training consistency during the dark and cold months

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With the start of Autumn in the horizon and the falling of leaves comes the unfortunate end of bright warm and sunny mornings. Instead of waking up to sunshine you wake up to darkness and the sound of howling wind and rain. The long, dark and grey days start to impact your mood and you may find that it takes a lot more to get you through your daily routine (including your workouts). 

I thought I would share with you guys a few tips on how to combat these Autumn blues and ensure that you make the most of this season.

  1. Discipline = Make sure you create discipline as eliminating the dependence on outside factors (such as your mood) will give you the tools to focus on the long-term achievement of your goals so that you do what you need to do instead of what you want to do. For example create a consistent training schedule and stick to it. 
  2. Set a big goal = Setting a reasonable, measurable and realistic goal (such as improving strength or successfully performing an exercise that you’ve struggled on) will help to keep you motivated and give you something to look forward to before the end of the year. 
  3. An awesome playlist = Studies have shown that music has several benefits on the human brain which include boosting our moods, distracting the brain from fatigue and even helping in increasing endurance. 
  4. Get a training partner = Having someone to train with makes you more likely to stick to your fitness goals and also helps to hold you accountable. The right training partner can also help to increase your training intensity by giving you that little extra push. 
  5. 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 

Love 

Jay xx

Jay’s Top 4: Tips to Get you Motivated and Keep you Motivated

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When it comes to making improvements to our health and fitness levels we all now WHAT we need to do. We know that we need to move more and eat better. The WHAT isn’t the problem. The thing that most people struggle with is the HOW. How do we go about making these changes and keeping ourselves motivated and committed to the changes that we are making?

So, I thought I’d share with you guys a few tips that have helped me stay motivated and committed to my long-term goals.

  1. Train in a way that you enjoy: You are more likely to be consistent and remain committed to a style of training you actually enjoy. 
  1. Take it one step at a time: One of the main reasons people give up on their goals is because they try to do too much at once and become overwhelmed. Instead of trying to change everything at once,s pick one thing to focus on.
  1. Focus on building discipline: motivation is unreliable and dependant on your moods and feelings. By building discipline you give yourself the necessary tools to focus on what you need to do (in order to achieve your goals) especially when you don’t feel like doing it.
  1. Remember Why You Started:  Make sure that the reason why you are embarking on your journey is strong. Your reason why will help you to keep disciplined and motivated on the harder days. 

Hope you guys find these helpful.

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

Tips On How to Maintain Goal Weight

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Achieving a fat-loss goal can be extremely difficult, but arguably maintaining that goal is even harder. Majority of people regain weight and end up in a cycle of losing weight and regaining that weight. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that only 20% of individuals are successful at maintaining weight loss in the long-term. 

This shouldn’t however discourage anyone from attempting to achieve their goals. I’ve devised a list with a few tips to help maintain weight loss in the long-term: 

  1. Self-love = This may sound very kumbaya but its important to learn to come from a place of love when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Learning to truly love yourself and your body is important. You need to be realistic and understand that while there are certain things (such as your body measurements and composition) that you can change there are things that you may not be able to change (such as your body structure). 
  1. Make sustainable changes = One of the reasons people fail to maintain weight loss is because of the approaches they take to lose weight. Often times people use approaches to nutrition that are overly restrictive and will throw everything into training (i.e. no rest days or training too many times a week) which results in failure not only to achieve their end goal but also in failure to maintain that goal if they do achieve it. Make sure that you take things a step at a time and make sustainable changes that you can see yourself sticking to long after you’ve achieved your goal 
  1. Consistency = This tip follows on from the last one. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that in the group of individuals who had successfully maintained long-term weight loss one of the factors was “continued adherence to diet and exercise strategies” aka consistency. One of my favourite quotes says that “exercise is not a destination, it is a constant state of becoming.” You need to realise that it’s a lifestyle and that you are creating habits of eating well and exercising regularly which you should continue to practice for the rest of your life and not just for the sole purpose of achieving your goal. 
  1. Mistakes and Setback will happen = While losing weight and maintaining weight loss in theory is simple in practice it can be difficult because we are trying to replace old habits with new ones. Realise that you will make mistakes and that things won’t always go according to plan. The important thing is to learn from those mistakes and avoid repeating them and to keep pushing forward. 
  1. Patience = We live in a society where we are accustomed to things happening in the quickest and easiest way possible. In the case of fat-loss however, we must be patient because things will take a long time. You didn’t get to where you are overnight so you are not going to get to where you want to be overnight. “Don’t let the time it takes to achieve a goal put you off of trying. The time will pass either way, you may as well spend it doing something productive.”

Hope these are helpful. 

Jay 

Vanilla & Cinnamon Protein Muffins

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 scoop  vanilla protein powder
  • 1 scoop water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tsp almond butter and 2 tsp hazelnut spread

Method: 

  • In a blender or nutribullet blend together the protein powder, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, water and eggs
  • Make sure mixture is completely blended together and place in muffin tin (should make about 4 muffins)
  • Bake at 150 degrees for 8-10 minutes (or until golden)
  • Slice off the muffin tops with a knife and let muffins cool for 3-5 minutes
  • Put the peanut butter on the bottom half of 2 of the muffins and the hazelnut spread on the bottom half of the other 2
  • Slice the banana and place it on the muffins
  • Place the muffin tops back on and enjoy

Jay xx

Accountability: Are You Standing in Your Own Way

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With the start of yet another new month 2018 is now well underway, so how are the goals and intentions you set up at the start of the year shaping up? Are you on track or are things not going according to plan?

Don’t get me wrong, no fitness journey (or any journey for that matter) will work out 100 percent smoothly and according to plan, that being said while it may not be a linear journey you should still ultimately be working towards your end goal. For example if your goal is fat-loss, there may be some weeks where your weight remains the same or where it goes up, which is absolutely normal. However, in the long-term you should still be losing weight and therefore working towards your goal.

I have found from my own personal experience and observing clients, family and friends that often we can be very quick to blame outside factors for sabotaging our goals and refuse to take responsibility. Continuing on from my fat-loss example above sometimes people will be quick to blame other factors for weight gain instead of perhaps being brutally honest with themselves and taking accountability such as accepting that perhaps they aren’t tracking calories properly (i.e.over estimating how much energy is expended and under estimating how much energy is consumed) or assuming that eating whole and organic foods translates differently to our bodies than non-organic foods (cake is cake just because its organic doesn’t mean you can eat more of it). This is just a small example.

The key point and message I hope that you guys take away from todays post is that if things aren’t working out the way that they should make sure that you’re being honest with yourself and taking responsibility where its appropriate.

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

Easter is Coming: Dieting on the Holiday’s

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Whenever there is a special occasion or a holiday (i.e. Easter and Christmas) I always notice that people become more aware of that they eat. This is natural given the typically indulgent nature of the meals we consume during these brief periods.

My issue with this is that I feel that people become so concerned with what they do some of the time  (such as the food they eat on these holidays and special occasions) instead of focusing on what they do most of the time (which involves what they eat the rest of the year).

When it comes to fitness its important to remember that consistency is more important than bursts of perfection. What you do most of the time is more important than what you do some of the time. Which means that if you spend the majority of the year making choices which align with your goals and filling your body with nutrient dense foods, enjoying yourself on the odd holiday and special occasion won’t derail your progress or keep you from achieving your goals.

I do understand that for many there may still be anxiety around food and these kind of events so here are a few tips which may help:

  1. Eat what you want
  2. If you don’t want something don’t eat it
  3. Stop when you are full
  4. Stay hydrated
  5. Enjoy the time spent and the memories created with friends, family and loved ones

Ultimately unless you are prepping for a competition or an event you shouldn’t be afraid of enjoying yourself on Easter. Stop focusing on and stressing about what you eat on days like Easter and Christmas  and instead start focussing on what you are putting into your body the rest of the year, because it’s what you do most of the time that determines your results.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx