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

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

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

Why You Should Be Your Own #BodyGoals

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We all have different people we admire for different reasons. One of the things I love about social media is its ability to connect me with other like-minded people, giving me a sense of community as well as allowing me to feel close to those that I admire. However, everything in life comes with its downsides and social media is no exception. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a person who you look up to and who motivates you to better yourself, be that in terms of health and fitness, business or generally just becoming a better human being. The danger is that people often take this admiration too far and want to become the people that they admire. 

The most obvious example of this is when people set goals to look exactly like someone else. Often these are unrealistic goals because as individuals we are one of a kind. We could be on the exact same nutrition and exercise program as the person we admire but the results would still be different.

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

We need to learn that we can admire others and be inspired by them, wanting to achieve goals in the same way they have but still love ourselves, our bodies and the things that make us different. There needs to be a shift away from feeling that we need to do better than others and towards focussing on improving our practices be that in the gym or with our approach to nutrition.

The main reason I wanted to share this post is because I feel that when we go too far in admiring other and comparing ourselves to them we can begin to feel inadequate in ourselves. 

“Never forget there is only one of you and you are as breathtaking as they come.” -E. Russell

Just some food for thought.

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

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

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

Tips to Help Build Confidence in the Gym

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The gym (and the free weights area in particular) can sometimes be an extremely intimidating place and make people feel self-conscious, especially when they are new to fitness or returning to it after a long time. 

People fear performing exercises incorrectly and being judged by other gym goers for lacking experience and being out of shape. This lack of confidence then leads to many people either performing excessive amounts of cardio (because the machinery and equipment is much easier to figure out) or avoiding the gym and exercise altogether. 

There was a time when I used to share the above concerns. So I wanted to share a few tips with you guys which have helped me to boost my confidence in the gym:

  1. Go in with a plan = No matter how much experience you have, going to the gym without a set course of action of what your session will entail can lead to a bad session and confusion. Take a few minutes to write down exactly what you are going to do. Not only does this help to ensure that you use your time in the gym efficiently, but if you have any doubts about anything at this stage you can ask someone or look it up.
  1. Get yourself a gym buddy = Having someone to workout with can make the gym seem less intimidating. A gym buddy can also help keep you motivated and make you more accountable. If you’re able to get a training partner who has more experience in the gym you also gain to learn from them.
  1. Personal Training = No matter what stage you’re at in your fitness journey I believe that there is always room for improvement and for the broadening of knowledge. Getting advice and help from a personal trainer (especially if you’re new) can give you the tools necessary to navigate yourself around the gym with confidence.

Hope you guys find these tips 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