Listening to Your Body: Rest & Recovery

You only get one body, so you need to make sure that you take good care of it. Our bodies are extremely intelligent and will always give us signs and signals of what it is that they need. For that reason I’m a strong believer in listening to your body.

That being said, I’ll admit that I’m not always the best at listening to the cues that my body gives me. One thing that I’ve always struggled with is being able to identify the difference between needing to push myself more (in terms of training) and when to take a step back. I often do the former which can lead to me feeling burnt-out and unmotivated. 

Over time I’ve gotten a lot better at listening to my body and identifying exactly what it is that it needs. A lot of that comes down to my own experience and knowledge as well as the experiences and knowledge of the people I surround myself with. So, today I wanted to share some of that knowledge with you guys, because I think it is important to be able to differentiate between when you need to push yourself and when you need to ease off and give yourself time to rest and recover. 

Reasons rest & recovery are 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.
  • Gives 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).

Signs your body gives you that you need to ease off training?

  • You are getting intense and prolonged  DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness);
  • You are lacking motivation to do training that you typically enjoy for prolonged periods of time;
  • You are struggling to get a decent nights sleep;
  • You are feeling more irritable than usual;
  • You feel drained and exhausted after workouts that typically leave you feeling energised; and
  • Your sex drive has decreased or disappeared. 

I know that for many people taking a day off training, especially one that they didn’t plan on having can be quite hard. Ensuring that you have adequate time to rest and recover is just as important for achieving your goals as your training days. Even the world’s top athletes have rest and recovery scheduled into their intense regimes. Make sure you aren’t overlooking these significant factors in your training routine.

Just some food for thought.

Jay

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

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

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

Ice-cream for Breakfast: Protein Pancake Recipe

IMG_0721

Hey guys, quite a few of you have been asking for my protein pancake recipe so here you go:

For the Pancakes:

  • 1 scoop white chocolate protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 squares dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 scoop water (I just use my protein scoop) 

For the toppings:

  • Salted Caramel Halo Top Ice cream 
  • 1 tsp salted caramel sauce 

Method

  1. Place protein powder, coconut flour, baking powder, chocolate, eggs and water in a blender and blend together until you get a smooth mixture,
  2. Place mixture in a hot pan according to the size you want your pancakes. Tip* I use my protein scoop, that way my pancakes are the same size.
  3. Flip the pancake once bubbles begin to form and then cook until lightly golden.
  4. Stack on a plate or in a bowl and top with a few spoons of the ice-cream
  5. Heat up the salted caramel sauce in a microwave for 15 secs and dribble it over the pancakes.
  6. Enjoy

Work Life Balance: How to Fit Fitness & Healthy Habits into a Busy Schedule

IMG_9097

Whether you are in a demanding full-time job or a full time student, the thought of adding exercise to an already daunting to do list can seem overwhelming, especially when you have other responsibilities (i.e. children, social engagements, a job that requires a lot of travel, working late night shifts, a lot of assignments, etc).  So I thought I would share with you guys a few tips that have helped me make healthier choices and keep consistent with training during the moments when life gets a bit hectic:

  1. Schedule: Time and time again I’ve heard people say that they’ll try and find time to get to the gym, but the problem with this is that life gets in the way and 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 must make the time to get to the gym. Just as you would with a doctor’s appointment or an important meeting you should schedule out set times to workout. I always take a day out (typically Sunday or Saturday) 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.
  1. Get the gym out the way first thing: Don’t get me wrong, I think that you should schedule your training at a time that will allow you to be consistent in the long run. However, one of the benefits of getting your training out the way first thing in the morning is that you can just get on with the rest of your day without it playing on the back your mind. I’ve found that when I leave training to later on in the day (especially the end of the day) I procrastinate a lot more and in some cases I just don’t go.
  1. Plan your meals: 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 you track macros or eat intuitively there are loads of benefits to planning your meals in advance. It can help save money and avoid food waste because you head to the shops with a set list of items that you’ll use throughout the week. It means that you don’t have 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. If however, you travel and find yourself eating out quite a bit you can still make healthy choices. Focus on meals with good sources of protein with loads of veggies.
  1. Consistency is Key: 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. For example training 3x a week consistently over time will be better than training 5x one week then only 1x the next week and so on.
  1. Make fitness a part of your life, don’t let it take over: I spent a lot of time believing that I could never have excuses, a belief which was only reaffirmed by the millions of posts 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 food. 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

Pull Ups: Squats for you Upper Body

429F5F4B-01BE-43BC-A7B5-8DB03DA066A1

Recently there has been so much attention paid to booty building and training legs (which I have nothing against) but I would like to bring attention back to the upper body. Pull-ups are arguably one of the most difficult body weight exercises to perform. However, they are also one of the most effective, recruiting several muscles simultaneously to perform the movement including: back muscles, arms, shoulders, scapular, abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, hands and forearms. It’s essentially a squat for your upper body. Pulls ups help to develop strength, create muscle definition and can help to increase shoulder to waist ratio. Many argue that the pull-up is the best exercise to test your upper body strength.

But what if you aren’t able to perform pull ups yet? Don’t worry I got your back (pun intended), here are a few tips to help master this move:

  1. Lose excessive body fat: The key word here being excessive. The heavier you are the harder it will be to pull yourself up.
  2. Strengthen the individual muscles used to perform pull-ups: make sure you training programs includes the muscles I listed above which are all used to perform a pull up.
  3. Assisted pull ups: Using a band or an assisted pull up machine with a resistance that will allow you to get between 8-12 reps
  4. Negatives: Jump up to the top of the pull up movement and lower yourself back down as slowly as you can until you are in a dead hang position.
  5. Pull-ups: Once you’re able to perform a body weight pull up the best way to get better at them is to practice. Play about with different grips and rep ranges.

Hope you guys find these helpful.

Jay xx

Self-Love Is The New #RelationshipGoals

86EE5361-7E31-427E-97CC-98DCB9C00AD9

The most important relationship in your life is the one that you have with yourself. Not only does this relationship dictate and affect the relationships you have with others but it also impacts all areas of your life. It is crucial that you learn to have a good and loving relationship with yourself because unless you do it won’t matter what you achieve or who you date, you’ll constantly feel as if there is something missing and you’ll keep setting goals for yourself and trying different things in hopes that they will help to fill in the missing piece, but they won’t.

In my last relationship my ex didn’t value my worth, he disrespected me and convinced me that I was lucky that someone like him would even consider being with me. The crazy thing is that I believed him and I stuck around. I’m ashamed to admit that the only reason he was able to treat me the way he did was because I didn’t have a strong relationship with myself, because I failed at that time to see my true worth and because I lacked confidence.

The reason I’ve wanted to share this experience with you guys is to illustrate how great an impact the relationship we have with ourselves can have on the other areas of our lives. Maybe some of you have a similar story not necessarily as a romantic relationship but perhaps the relationship with your parents, a friend or even your boss.

A poor relationship with yourself can act as a barrier blocking you from reaching your potential, be that in a  job (you won’t apply for because you don’t think you’re good enough) a goal (you won’t aim for because you believe you’re incapable of achieving it) or a relationship with someone you like (that you won’t pursue because you convince yourself they are too good for you).

Many of us spend so much of our lives searching for external factors (be that a job, a partner, a fancy car, our dream body, etc) because we believe that these things will bring us happiness, when in truth the most important factor that we need to be happy can be found within ourselves and through changing our mindset. It may be a cliché but that doesn’t stop it from being true!

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. As someone who grew up hating every single thing about myself right down to the colour of my skin (which is absurd because this melanin is lit AF) I can honestly say that 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. Learning to love and appreciate myself over the years has also helped me ensure that I will never again allow anyone to be a part of my life if they try to bring me down or attempt to diminish my self-worth.

The key message I hope that you guys take from this today is that you are good enough, you are amazing, you are smart, you are beautiful and you’re an absolute badass. There is nothing that you need to achieve or acquire, there is no relationship status that you need to gain for any of this to be true. The sooner you realise this, and the sooner you build a strong and healthy relationship with yourself, the better life becomes. “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

Making it a Lifestyle: Being Fit and Healthy Goes Beyond the Time Spent at the Gym

CC46FA56-BFF3-4CE6-96F5-C4CB04CC8EAA

 

We all know how important it is to engage in some form of physical activity regularly. For most of us the chosen means to stay fit and healthy is through exercise at the gym. However, being fit and healthy goes beyond the time that we spend working out. Being active outside of the gym and ensuring that we are filling our bodies with mostly nutrient dense food is just as important. We spend most of our time outside the gym so what we do during that time will have a great impact on our lives and our goals.

Here are a few tips to help ensure that you are making the most of your time outside of the gym:

  1. Aim to get 10 000 daily steps: Walk or take the stairs more often. Try parking further away or taking the stairs instead of the lift wherever possible even going to a bathroom that is further away at work.
  2. Be mindful of what you’re putting into your body: By no means do I think you should deprive yourself of food that you enjoy (everything in moderation) but you do need to be mindful of what you’re eating and how much of it you’re eating.
  3. Participate in activities that are fun and will keep you active and moving: Going swimming, bike riding, trampolining, hiking, bowling, ice-skating, going to the beach, etc.
  4. Get friends and family to participate: Getting friends and family to participate in activities with you such as going for a for a daily walk after dinner or on your lunch break can help to keep you motivated and make you more accountable to keep it up.
  5. Think of making it part of your lifestyle and not just a temporary measure: Shifting your mindset and thinking of doing things as part of your lifestyle helps to ensure that you view your commitment as long-term and will also help ensure that you are making positive sustainable changes that will help you achieve your goals.

Just some food for though

Jay xx