Don’t Skip Leg Day: The Benefits of Strong Booty Muscles

While training to strengthen and enhance the booty has been gaining a lot of attention recently I have found that there is still some confusion as to which exercises will actually help you achieve this.

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. The importance and benefits of training your glute muscles go far beyond aesthetics. So make sure you’re not neglecting them. 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 to make you 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                                                                                                (60s rest between all sets) 

Seriously guys, don’t skip leg day!

Just some food for thought 

Jay xx

Fitting Healthy Habits into a Busy Schedule

When you already have an extremely busy schedule and a lot of commitments (i.e. children, social engagements, a job that requires a lot of travel, working late night shifts, a lot assignments, etc) trying to find the time to hit the gym and prep meals can feel like an impossible task. 

So I thought I would share a few tips with you guys that have helped me continue to make healthy choices and keep with consistent with training, especially during the moments when life feels a bit chaotic. 

  1. Schedule: You can’t expect to find the time to hit the gym. I know that this is a cliche, but it’s true. You have to make the time and the best way to achieve that, is to plan ahead. I always take a day out (typically a Saturday or a Sunday) to schedule what I need to do and what I want to get done in the week to come, very Monica from Friends (I Know!) but it’s effective. Studies have shown that the simple act of planning beforehand (i.e. when and how you will do something) increases the likelihood of you actually doing it. 
  1. Plan Your Meals: Just as I make sure that I take the time to schedule my training sessions in advance, I also take the time to plan out what I’ll be eating in advance. Regardless of your approach to nutrition (whether you track your macros or eat intuitively) there are several benefits to planning your meals in advance. For starters, it can help you save money and avoid unnecessary food waste, because you head to the grocery store with a set list of items that you’ll use throughout the week. It also means, that you don’t have to stress yourself out thinking about what to have for dinner on days that you are extremely busy. This can also help you avoid making convenient and unhealthier choices. 
  1. Consistency is Key: To this day the best piece of training advice I’ve ever received is to “focus on being consistent, instead of constantly swinging from one extreme (training intensely and attempting to eat perfectly) to the other (not training at all and binging). Making sure that you always apply sustainable training and nutritional habits will help you remain consistent in the long term. 
  1. Don’t Let Fitness Take Over Your Life: I Spent far too much time believing that you should never miss a workout or eat unhealthy food. A belief which was only reaffirmed by thousands of posts I scrolled through on social media. The truth is that sometimes work and other priorities will get in the way and sometimes they should. It isn’t healthy to feel that you can t miss a workout or avoid time with friends and family because you are anxious about eating a meal which isn’t nutrient dense. Just like one workout and one salad won’t make you fit and healthy, missing a workout or not eating according to plan won’t make you unhealthy.

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

Self-care: Recognising & Avoiding Burnout

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When motivation and determination to smash a goal are running high, we can get so caught up in reaching the end result that we forget/underestimate the importance of the process it takes to achieve it. Obviously being motivated and determined to smash a goal is amazing. But, when the end result becomes our sole focus, we can become impatient and end up implementing shortcuts and questionable methods in order to achieve it (for example: drastic cuts in calories or cutting out entire food group if you’re trying to lose weight). In addition, being solely result focused can cause us to ignore or minimise cues given to us by our bodies that we need to slow down.

Burnout can lead to increasing the time it takes to achieve our goals and in some cases even put us off attempting to achieve them entirely. 

What is burnout?

Burnout /ˈbəːnaʊt/ 

“To cause to fail, wear out, or become exhausted especially from overwork or overuse.”

Burnout has 3 main components:

  1. Exhaustion;
  2. Cynicism (particularly feelings of detachment or lack of engagement with things that you typically enjoy); and 
  3. Inefficiency.

What causes burnout?

There isn’t just one sole cause, instead several factors play a role in us becoming burnt out. Put simply burnout can be described as an imbalance in our lives, especially when the demands placed on us by work, training, ourselves (for the perfectionists out there) and other lifestyle stressors outweigh rewards, recognition, relaxation and our self-care routines.

What are the signs & Symptoms?

The following are examples of a few of the signs and symptoms of burnout:

  • Constantly feeling tired and exhausted
  • Change in sleep habits and appetite
  • Lack of motivation and difficulty enjoying things that you typically would
  • Increased feelings of self-doubt
  • Withdrawal and isolation from others

Self-care tips to help avoid or remedy burnout

  • Reach out to friends and family and talk about how you are feeling
  • Take a break and pamper yourself 
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep and if training is one of the contributing factors of you burnout ensure that your training program is properly periodised giving you enough time to recover
  • Make sure you find the right balance for you lifestyle

To sum up make sure you are including a good self-care system to your routine this year and be on the look out for the signs and symptoms of burnout.

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

Tips to Lead a Healthier and Fitter 2019

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Happy New Year peeps, I hope that you have all enjoyed the festive season.

It’s that time of year when motivation is running high and we are all committed to being better versions of ourselves. 

For most of us this self-improvement will include leading a healthier 2019, so I thought I’d put together a list of tips to help not only achieve these goals but to ensure that you are committed to them all year, especially once all the “new year, new you” motivation fades.

Jay’s Top Tips:

  1. Focus on building small daily habits: don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change too much at once. Instead of trying to change everything at once pick one thing to focus on. For example picking to focus on being consistent with training and once you’ve achieved that moving on to focusing on improving nutrition. 
  1. Learn to enjoy the process: people often get so focused on achieving their desired results or goals, that they forget the importance of enjoying the journey that gets them there. You wouldn’t stop working hard after getting a promotion at work. The same is true for achieving goals at the gym. This is one of the reason that quick fixes and fad diets don’t work.
  1. Plan ahead: if you keep waiting for the perfect time to train you’ll likely find yourself occupied with other tasks and end up too busy and stressed to go. Instead of trying to find the time you have to make the time. Just as I make sure that I schedule out time to fit in working out I also take the time to plan out what I’ll be eating for the week. Regardless of your approach to nutrition and whether or not you track macros there are several benefits to planning your meals in advance, such as not having to stress yourself out thinking about what to eat on the days that you are extremely busy and therefore can help you avoid making convenient and unhealthy choices.
  1. There is no such thing as perfection: no journey will work out exactly according to plan. You have to accept the fact that you will make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them. There will be ups and downs, there will be bad days, don’t let them put you off of achieving your goals.
  1. Be consistent: the best fitness advice I’ve ever gotten is to focus on being consistent instead of constantly going from one extreme (training intensely and attempting to eat perfectly) to the other (not training at all and bingeing). Applying sustainable training and nutritional habits will help you to be consistent in the long-term.

Hope you guys find these helpful.

Jay xx

Why You Shouldn’t Diet This Christmas!

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Whenever there is a special occasion or a holiday (i.e. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.) 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). 

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 Christmas. Stop focusing on and stressing about what you eat on days like Christmas  and instead start focussing on what you are putting into your body the rest of the year, because its what you do most of the time that determines your results. 

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Jay’s Top 10 Fitness Tips

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In celebration of another 365 days on this beautiful planet, I thought I would put together a list of my top fitness tips to share with you guys.

  1. Set a goal: Your goal will act as a source of motivation. Make sure your goals are specific and realistic.
  1. Create a plan to achieve that goal: Once you’ve determined what your goal is set out a plan that will ensure that you will achieve that goal.
  1. Choose and approach to training and nutrition: make sure that your training and nutrition plan are sustainable and allow you to train and eat in a way that you enjoy. This way you are more likely to stick to it. 
  1. Don’t compare yourself to others: Stop focussing on what everyone else is doing. Focus on improving your own practices daily. 
  1. Being healthy goes beyond the physical aspect: Being healthy is not just about looking good. It is easy to take fitness to an extreme. It is not healthy to deprive yourself of food or rest. Make sure you are also taking care of your mind and overall wellbeing. 
  1. Stop looking to quick fixes: If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Quick fixes are dangerous and will often leave you in a worse position than where you started off.
  1. Motivation is overrated, create discipline: Motivation is an amazing tool, however, it will come and go. Focus on building discipline and creating daily habits that will ensure that you always do what you need to do, especially when you don’t want to.
  1. Sleep and recovery are important: Sleep and recovery are just as important as your training. Make sure you’re not overlooking their importance.
  1. Ask for help: If you are struggling in a certain area (i.e. training, nutrition, goal setting, etc) just ask for help.
  1. Be consistent: This is hands down the best fitness advice I have ever received in my life. You don’t have to be perfect, you just need to be consistent. It’s what we do most of the time that matters.

Hope you guys find these helpful.

Jay xx

Being Active When You Work A 9-5

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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

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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

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