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

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

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

You Over-indulged! Now what?

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When I was just beginning my fitness journey I strived to be perfect. I didn’t want to miss a session or eat anything “bad” and if I did I thought the only solution was to restrict my calories and exercise more. I couldn’t have been more wrong. You should never punish yourself with exercise and by restricting food intake just because you ate something you enjoy.

In an ideal world we’ll always be able to strike the right balance and moderation, when eating the foods that we enjoy that aren’t nutrient dense. However, the reality is that we are human and sometimes we’ll have a bit more to drink than is ideal or help ourselves to a few too many slices of cake. 

So I decided to share a few tips with you guys on what to do when these situations happen:

  1. Get back on track with your next meal: just because you have overdone it on this occasion does not mean that all your hard work and discipline has gone to waste. Take the opportunity to get back on track with your next meal. Don’t just say “fuck it” and continue to binge. If you dropped your phone and the screen cracked, would you keep throwing it about to make it worse? So why do the same with your nutrition?
  1. Don’t use exercise as punishment: Just as you should go back to eating as normal without restricting food, you should continue to train as you usually would. Don’t do endless hours of cardio! Exercise is meant to be enjoyed, it should never be a form of punishment for eating things that we enjoy. 
  1. Address underlying issues: Sometimes food is used as a coping mechanism. Personally when I’m stressed or sleep deprived I tend to crave sugary things and find it harder to be disciplined. Addressing what is causing me stress and ensuring that I am getting enough sleep helps me to avoid binging and over-indulging

I hope you guys found these helpful.

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

The Dangers of Comparing Ourselves to Strangers Online

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I think it is great to draw fitness motivation and inspiration from others. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy social media. However, I feel that far too often this is taken too far. You shouldn’t eat “x” amount of calories simply because that’s what your favourite IG model eats or trains “x” amount of tines a week because that how often they train. 

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.

While I do think that there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, constantly comparing and competing with others just creates a losing battle and can lead to low levels of self-esteem and unhealthy habits. There needs to be a shift from feeling that you need to do better than others towards focusing on improving on your own practices be that in the gym or with your approach to nutrition. 

There also needs to be a shift away from constantly focusing on negatives. So what if you don’t have visible abs? Are a few lines on your stomach really going to make a difference to your life?  Instead place your attention on the positives. Maybe you don’t have visible abs but you can squat your bodyweight or more, or maybe you can perform an exercise now that you couldn’t do a few months ago. Our bodies are constantly proving how amazing they are yet 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. Who you are is amazing. 

Just some food for thought. 

Jay xx

Jay’s Top Tips to Achieving #Self-love

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A few months back I wrote a blog post on the importance of self-love and ensuring that you create a good relationship with yourself.  Today I would like to build up on that message and share with you guys some tips on how to improve your relationship with yourself. 

  1. Practice Positive Self-talk: Take time out of every day to practice focussing on the things about you that you love. You can start by choosing three things (and this can be anything) that you love about yourself and you can either stand in front of a mirror and say them to yourself or write them down.
  1. Stop comparing yourself to others: This is a big one. One of my favourite quotes is that “we need to learn to admire the beauty of others, without calling our own into question.” By all means be inspired and motivated by others, but don’t allow their achievements to make you feel like you are not good enough. If following a particular page on social media is causing you to feel bad about yourself don’t follow it.
  1. Acceptance & change: There are certain things about ourselves that we need to learn to accept, by this I mean the things that you can’t change. For me this is my legs, I have always felt that they have been huge and have spent far too many years of my life trying to get them to appear smaller. The fact is that I can’t really change my legs much, so they’ve become something that I have learnt to love. However, self-love and wanting to improve yourself don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Making positive changes such as eating better, exercising more, doing more of the things that you love and surrounding yourself with people who lift you up all are things that you are able to do which can help you to improve the relationship you have with yourself. 

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

Hope you guys find these helpful. 

Jay xx

Getting Your Body Summer Ready

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Last week Thursday those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere officially welcomed summer. For many people the start of summer acts as a reminder of the goals and intentions that we set out at the start of the year to exercise more and eat better. 

I’m a big fan of anything that gets people moving and makes them more mindful of what their eating. However, a big issue with the coming of this season is that people usually engage in drastic and restrictive forms of diet and exercise to fulfil short-lived (if even achieved) goals. 

In light of that, I thought I’d share a few tips with you guys to help you not just achieve you a summer body but to achieve your dream body and maintain it: 

  1. Fitness is a state of constant becoming, it’s not a destination: Unless you’re competing for a physique competition and require strict dieting, you should aim to only implement eating and exercise habits that you can see yourself sticking to in the long-term. Here’s the thing, just because you achieve your goal doesn’t mean that you get to stop eating well and exercising. These things have to continue to allow you to maintain your goal once you get there. Chances are that if you hate what you’re eating and the way you’re training, you’ll be unlikely to stick to your training and nutrition plans in the long-term. 
  1. Patience, patience and some more patience: We live in a society where pretty much anything we want is available to us at the click of a button. Unfortunately, we can’t just amazon prime our dream body. You didn’t get to where your are overnight, so you are not going to get to where you want to be overnight either. I can’t stress this point enough. For the majority of us, achieving our dream bodies will take a long time. But, ultimately the time is going to go by anyway, so we may as well spend it doing something productive. 
  1. Expect mistakes and setbacks: There is no such thing as perfection. Achieving your dream body is not going to be a linear journey. There are going to be ups and downs. The important thing is not to give up. Learn from mistakes and learn to better cope with things that get you off track. 

Now I know that none of these tips may be what you guys wanted to hear. Trust me if there was an Amazon Prime for your dream body I’d be the first one ordering it. I do hope you guys find these tips helpful. Train smart, eat well and enjoy life.

Just some food for thought.

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