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

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

Right Now: Better You!

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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

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

Meal Prep 101: Busy Persons Guide to Meal Prep

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One of the main reasons people struggle to achieve their fitness goals is that they expect to find time to exercise and to eat well instead of realising that they have to make the time. Maybe you work full-time, study full-time or have other responsibilities (such as children, social engagements, a job that requires a lot of travel, working late night shifts, a lot of assignments, etc). I am by no means suggesting that these are bad excuses, on the contrary because I believe in their validity I want to provide a few tips which can help even the busiest person make time for meal prepping. 

Regardless of the approach you take to nutrition there are loads of benefits of prepping meals. Including ensuring that you stay on track of you nutrition by avoiding making convenient and less nutritious choices at lunch time. Having meals prepped and taking them into work with you will also save you money. 

I am by no means a meal prep expert and I am not suggesting that your approach to meal prep should be the same as mine. My intent in sharing it with you guys is that you may find it a helpful guide if you are struggling in this area. 

Jay’s Tips:

  • Plan your meals in advance: To help make life easier when you have some free time write-up a list of foods to eat during the week. If you track macros and can use an app such as my fitness pal or if you prefer taking an intuitive eating approach you can either type up a list or go old school and put pen to paper. 
  • Prep meals for two days: I find that when you prep meals for the whole week by the time you get to day 4 it tastes foul. I find that preparing meals for every two days ensures that food stays fresh and tasty. Prepping meals this way also means not spending hours in the kitchen. Another thing you can do as well is to double up on your dinner and take the second portion into work/uni with you as your lunch. 
  • Eat foods you like: I know that this point sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many times people eat foods they don’t like because they are labeled “superfoods” or “fat-burning.” Long story short these labels are just that, labels. If you don’t like what you have packed to eat you are less likely to stick to your nutrition in the long-term. 
  • Keep things simple: We often try to over complicate things. Keep your meals simple, there is no need to try to be Gordan Ramsey and create dishes that take you hours (which means you’ll be unlikely to keep prepping in the long-term). 

Hope these tips help. 

Jay xx

BDD: Body Dysmorphic Disorder in Fitness

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What is body dysmorphic disorder? Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or body dysmorphia is a mental health condition in which “a person spends a lot of time worrying about and obsessing over flaws in their appearance.”  The flaws themselves tend to be unnoticeable to others and are either “imagined” by the person suffering from BDD or in the case where there is an actual flaw it’s importance is exaggerated. BDD goes beyond being unhappy with a certain aspect of ones own appearance because for those suffering from it the perceived flaws cause them a great deal of emotional pain and interfere greatly with their lives (e.g they become anti social and engage in extreme acts to either hide or attempt to fix these flaws). 

What does the fitness industry have to do with it? “Interestingly, distorted body image oftentimes has little to no relation to how an individual actually looks; his or her perception of the physical self is heavily influenced by cultural ideals.” For years society has been defining and setting standards of beauty through television and magazines and now with technological advancements and the rise in time spent scrolling through social media platforms people start to judge their own appearances according to societal/cultural definitions and expectations. With regard to fitness this may be feeling that one is not fit and healthy if they aren’t lean, muscular and have a six-pack. Another example is muscle dysmorphia (a subcategory of BDD affecting mostly males) in which one believes/perceives ones body to be too small. We tend to associate exercising and eating nutritious food in a positive manner (because at their very core these are things that are good for us) however, it is possible to take this to an extreme and transform what should be healthy habits into unhealthy ones. 

Tips to maintain a positive body image: 

  • Learn to admire the beauty and accomplishments of others without calling your own into question. If following a particular page or person online makes you feel negative about yourself simply unfollow it and focus on those that inspire you instead
  • Unplug try to limit time spent scrolling through social media 
  • Stop the negative self-talk. Practice speaking to yourself in a positive manner. Show yourself love and kindness
  • Support network. You are not alone and do not have to suffer in silence. Talk to friends, loved ones or a professional about how you are feeling.
  • Stop trying to live up to societies unrealistic standards. Celebrate what makes you unique, the world would be an extremely dull place if we were all the same. 

Just some food for thought. 

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

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

WIHF: What is Health & Fitness?

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Health is defined as “the state of being free from illness or injury” and fitness is defined as “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” If you ask me these definitions allow for a broad interpretation of what health and fitness involve and what they look like.

What is health and fitness to you? Is it to be strong, to be explosive, to have endurance, to be lean, to be flexible, to have balance, to be precise, to feel good, to be able to perform daily tasks without feeling pain or fatigue or a combination of these and other things?

The reason I’m asking this question is that I feel that there are far too many people who are influenced by what they see on social media platforms and believe that in order to be fit and healthy they need to look a certain way (i.e be extremely lean and have a six-pack). What a healthy body looks like will depend upon the individual in question, for example for one person being healthy may be to reduce the risk of disease by lowering weight and body fat while for another person being healthy could be to increase body fat and overall weight.

In the age of social media it is easy to get caught up comparing yourself to strangers online. You don’t need to look like your favourite IG model in order to be fit and healthy, you don’t need to do what they do or eat how much they eat. Truth be told doing that doesn’t guarantee you the same results anyway. The fitness industry is so diverse that you should be doing whatever it is that you enjoy be that participating in a sport, bodybuilding, powerlifting, dancing, running, etc.

The key point I want you guys to take away today is to realise that health and fitness are broad and that a healthy body will look different on everyone.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Listening to Your Body:Rest & Recovery

 

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Rest and recovery are easily overlooked factors when it comes to the achievement of our fitness goals. It’s easy to get sucked into thinking that the more exercise you do the better off you’ll be, however, when it comes to exercise more is not necessarily better. Even the world’s top athletes will have rest days scheduled into their training programs.

Why are rest days 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).

I hear you though. “Jay, I already have rest days in my program” and that’s great, but do you listen to your body and give yourself additional rest days when you need it. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between when you need to push yourself a little bit and when you need to back off. I still struggle with this so I thought I would share with you guys a few signs your body gives you when it needs rest and recovery:

  • Intense and prolonged DOMS
  • Prolonged lack of motivation to train
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling more irritated than usual
  • Feeling drained after what usually feels like a good workout
  • Decreased sex drive

I know that for many people taking a day off of training, especially one that they didn’t plan on having can be quite hard, but you will reap the benefits of it. Taking a day off of the gym doesn’t mean that you have to be a couch potato. Go for a walk or a hike or do some other fun activity you keep telling yourself you’ll do but never manage to find the time for.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx