Listening to Your Body Overtraining: the Dangers, the Signs and the Remedy

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You only get one body so you need to take good care of it. For this reason I’m a strong believer in listening to your body and giving it what it needs That being said I’ll admit that I’m not always the best at listening to the cues that my body gives me. I’ve definitely improved and thanks to my own knowledge and that of those who I surround myself with I’m better able to identify what it is that my body needs. Today I want to share some of that knowledge with you guys because I think it is extremely important to differentiate between when you need to push yourself and when you need to ease back and maybe even give yourself more time to rest and recover. 

There are different variations of overtraining (a.k.a burnout, chronic fatigue and over stress) but put simply it can be described as the result of placing more stress on the body than it is able to recover from to the point of causing plateaus and decreases in performance. 

Signs of Overtraining

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

How to Avoid or Remedy Overtraining 

  • Reducing training volumes or intensity 
  • Taking extra recovery days 
  • Getting more sleep 
  • Ensuring you’re eating enough 
  • Sports therapy massage 
  • Ensuring your training program is well planned and periodised 

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Jay’s Top 4: Tips to Get you Motivated and Keep you Motivated

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When it comes to making improvements to our health and fitness levels we all now WHAT we need to do. We know that we need to move more and eat better. The WHAT isn’t the problem. The thing that most people struggle with is the HOW. How do we go about making these changes and keeping ourselves motivated and committed to the changes that we are making?

So, I thought I’d share with you guys a few tips that have helped me stay motivated and committed to my long-term goals.

  1. Train in a way that you enjoy: You are more likely to be consistent and remain committed to a style of training you actually enjoy. 
  1. Take it one step at a time: One of the main reasons people give up on their goals is because they try to do too much at once and become overwhelmed. Instead of trying to change everything at once,s pick one thing to focus on.
  1. Focus on building discipline: motivation is unreliable and dependant on your moods and feelings. By building discipline you give yourself the necessary tools to focus on what you need to do (in order to achieve your goals) especially when you don’t feel like doing it.
  1. Remember Why You Started:  Make sure that the reason why you are embarking on your journey is strong. Your reason why will help you to keep disciplined and motivated on the harder days. 

Hope you guys find these helpful.

Jay xx

Tips On How to Maintain Goal Weight

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Achieving a fat-loss goal can be extremely difficult, but arguably maintaining that goal is even harder. Majority of people regain weight and end up in a cycle of losing weight and regaining that weight. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that only 20% of individuals are successful at maintaining weight loss in the long-term. 

This shouldn’t however discourage anyone from attempting to achieve their goals. I’ve devised a list with a few tips to help maintain weight loss in the long-term: 

  1. Self-love = This may sound very kumbaya but its important to learn to come from a place of love when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Learning to truly love yourself and your body is important. You need to be realistic and understand that while there are certain things (such as your body measurements and composition) that you can change there are things that you may not be able to change (such as your body structure). 
  1. Make sustainable changes = One of the reasons people fail to maintain weight loss is because of the approaches they take to lose weight. Often times people use approaches to nutrition that are overly restrictive and will throw everything into training (i.e. no rest days or training too many times a week) which results in failure not only to achieve their end goal but also in failure to maintain that goal if they do achieve it. Make sure that you take things a step at a time and make sustainable changes that you can see yourself sticking to long after you’ve achieved your goal 
  1. Consistency = This tip follows on from the last one. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that in the group of individuals who had successfully maintained long-term weight loss one of the factors was “continued adherence to diet and exercise strategies” aka consistency. One of my favourite quotes says that “exercise is not a destination, it is a constant state of becoming.” You need to realise that it’s a lifestyle and that you are creating habits of eating well and exercising regularly which you should continue to practice for the rest of your life and not just for the sole purpose of achieving your goal. 
  1. Mistakes and Setback will happen = While losing weight and maintaining weight loss in theory is simple in practice it can be difficult because we are trying to replace old habits with new ones. Realise that you will make mistakes and that things won’t always go according to plan. The important thing is to learn from those mistakes and avoid repeating them and to keep pushing forward. 
  1. Patience = We live in a society where we are accustomed to things happening in the quickest and easiest way possible. In the case of fat-loss however, we must be patient because things will take a long time. You didn’t get to where you are overnight so you are not going to get to where you want to be overnight. “Don’t let the time it takes to achieve a goal put you off of trying. The time will pass either way, you may as well spend it doing something productive.”

Hope these are helpful. 

Jay 

Vanilla & Cinnamon Protein Muffins

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 scoop  vanilla protein powder
  • 1 scoop water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tsp almond butter and 2 tsp hazelnut spread

Method: 

  • In a blender or nutribullet blend together the protein powder, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, water and eggs
  • Make sure mixture is completely blended together and place in muffin tin (should make about 4 muffins)
  • Bake at 150 degrees for 8-10 minutes (or until golden)
  • Slice off the muffin tops with a knife and let muffins cool for 3-5 minutes
  • Put the peanut butter on the bottom half of 2 of the muffins and the hazelnut spread on the bottom half of the other 2
  • Slice the banana and place it on the muffins
  • Place the muffin tops back on and enjoy

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

Stress & its Impact on Our Digestive System

 

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We all experience stress from time to time and short bursts of it can be beneficial to us however prolonged exposure to it can lead to chronic illness. It is not uncommon for us to believe that illness is the root cause of our symptoms when stress may actually be the real culprit. Today I thought I’d share with you guys a few ways that stress can have an impact on our digestive system.

  1. Stress can shut down digestion: which can lead to either constipation or food passing too quickly without nutrients being absorbed.
  2. Stress can cause heartburn
  3. Stress can eliminate the good bacteria in our gut which helps to fight viruses
  4. Stress can weaken your metabolism by slowing it down

How to Keep Yourself Motivated and Get Back on Track to Achieving your Goals

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When scrolling through social media sites it’s easy to forget that we are for the most part looking at the highlight reel of the lives of others. It then becomes easy to believe that most of the people we follow don’t struggle in the same way that we do. The truth is that everyone struggles with motivation. Everyone goes through periods where they feel like giving up or where they take actions that are counterproductive to the goals they hope to achieve. The important thing is not to give up during those moments.

Last weekend all I did was crave chocolate and cakes and I gave into my cravings. In the past I would have really beaten myself up about this and I would have stopped training and created a vicious cycle of comforting myself with food. Now I realise that days and moments like that will happen. I’ve learned to focus on why they happened (i.e. stress, lack of sleep, boredom, etc) and address those issues. I then just focus on getting back on track, not starving myself or depriving myself of food, but just focusing on eating well and making sure I stick to the training sessions I have planned.

I thought I would share with you guys a few tips that have helped me to stay motivated and get back on track when things don’t go according to plan:

  1. Create discipline: motivation is unreliable and dependant on your moods and feelings. By building discipline you eliminate the dependence on factors such as your mood and instead give yourself the necessary tools to focus on what you need to do (in order to achieve your goals) especially when you don’t feel like doing it.
  2. Set short-term goals: your overall goal may take a long time to achieve so in order to keep yourself motivated to achieve it set yourself some short-term goals. That could be anything from getting 10 000 steps a day to trying a new recipe once a week.
  3. The past is in the past: as hard as it may be you need to move on from the action you took which was counterproductive to your goal you have to forget about it and leave it in the past. There is nothing you can do about what has already happened all you can control is how you react to it. In my case it was eating far too much over the weekend. Instead of dwelling over this and beating myself up about it, I’ve been focussing on getting myself back on track by ensuring that I stick to my meal and training plans in the days to come.
  4. Don’t punish yourself: In the past I was very much guilty of trying to overcompensate for over-indulging by adding more workouts or depriving myself of food. Following on from the last point the best thing you can do is to try to move on from the incident and just get back to your regular eating and training routine. Don’t try to overcompensate as this may make matters worse and leave you feeling less motivated than before.
  5. Remind yourself of what your goals are and why they matter to you: every now and then a little reminder of what it is that we want to achieve may help to re-ignite the motivation that we had when we initially set the goal.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Benefits of HIIT Training

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High Intensity Interval Training (a.k.a HIIT) is a form of exercise where you push yourself to the max during short bursts of activity (typically between 20-90 seconds) followed by short periods of less intense activity.

Benefits of HIIT:

  1. All exercise burns fat but more intense exercise burns more fat
  2. If done correctly it can help to improve endurance, complement strength development and help to improve body composition
  3. It can be done anywhere and you don’t require any equipment
  4. Improves both aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  5. It’s time efficient: you can have an effective exercise in a short period of time

While there are many benefits to HIIT training it is not for everyone and you can definitely get too much of a good thing. It’s recommended that you should not exceed more than 3 HIIT sessions a week. Depending on what your goal is HIIT training may not be the best option for you. Due to the high intensity level it may cause you to burn out and therefore be counterproductive to the attainment of your goal.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx