The journey is the goal
As I have done before, here are the front loaded practical takeaways from this post:
In this blog post, I’m going to outline why goal setting alone isn’t the complete puzzle and how identifying meaningful personal values will make those difficult choices easier. I think getting into this stuff can hugely benefit people of all training experiences, whether that be a few months or a few decades. I’ll get into a brief definition of what I mean by process orientation, why you should care about it, talk about how to identify and weaponise personal values to direct you on the path and some of the discomforts that come along with it.
Firstly let’s talk about the issue with goals. Goal setting is important. Having something to aim for not only facilitates structure but also gives our little monkey brains that sweet dopamine hit when accomplished. So yeah, goals are great - but what do you do when you get there? You’ve dropped the dress size, you’ve hit the PB lift, you’ve got the abs. Now what? This is where some people can struggle. They could go multiple different ways with their goals, all of which are appealing - so how do you choose?
I realise being so in shape that your next goal isn’t obvious seems like a humble brag, but hanging all your hopes on a goal and then getting there and realising it hasn’t made you as happy or fulfilled as you thought it would, could be quite jarring. It isn’t hard to imagine how extreme and ultimately detrimental behaviors regarding getting as lean as possible, or as much muscle as possible ,are proliferated in this kind of thinking.
Instead, we can move our thought process away from pure goals or target setting, and look more at the direction of travel, or process by which we achieve these goals. If we review the previous examples, it isn’t the goal itself that should bring about the sole reward, but the process itself. You drop the dress sizes, you feel great, you look amazing etc etc - all of the positive improvements gained were through the things you did in order to get to your goal. Exercising regularly, making healthier diet choices, making sure to get enough sleep where possible, drinking more water and less alcohol. Focusing on maintaining, or possibly still improving on these processes if there is room to, will get you even more of those positive outcomes.
For another example, cause I know amateur athletes read these things. You win the championship, you lift the PB, you achieve your goal ranking. What did you do to get there? I imagine you and possibly your team made sure to make every practice, make every workout, adjust your diet and sleep to give the best performance outcomes you could fit into your schedule. The tale of the ‘One and Done’ is frequently told in sports. Athletes or teams that win it big once, then fade into mediocrity. The common thread you’ll find among those who consistently improve, and consistently win, is a focus on the process. I don’t know her personally, but I doubt Serena Williams does hardly any practice in between tournaments - I mean, she’s the best, why would she need to practice right?
So, how does one build a process orientated mindset? Well, one way is to establish some meaningful personal values, some prime directives, and use them to drive your behaviours and choices. Let’s dig into some previous examples, and break down how you can seek out your own values.
Firstly, let’s be our own annoying, introspective toddler.
I want to squat 100kg, pretty common goal among gym-goers of either sex.
Because I want to be stronger than I am now
Because I don’t want to be weak? [There is no set path to these, everyone’s answers will be unique to them]
Because I want to be self-reliant, I want to be healthy, and robust.
Because I want to live as long a life as possible, and be as helpful to my friends and loved ones as I can.
Because being able to help my family and friends when they need help makes me feel happy and valued.
A fair bit of a rollercoaster from just wanting to squat 100kgs in the gym, but it’s pretty easy to convince yourself to order another takeaway this week when the only thing you’ve got going is a number on a bar. Now you have something that means something to YOU, not to anyone else. It’s one intrinsic value that you yourself have defined, not your PT, not societal pressure, you. When you weigh up the small temporary pleasure from a takeaway, versus the bone-deep happiness and satisfaction of being able to help someone you love when they need it, it’s not even close anymore, is it? Again your values may differ.
Having self-serving values does not make you a bad person. Recognition, respect, status, all of those things feature in the hierarchy of needs, and for most of us lucky enough to live in a developed country we already have the basics in place. Your meaningful value can be ‘to be the best at X’ because I want to be recognised for what I’m capable of, for what I can do at X.
My last point regarding trying to manage your thinking around process orientation is that you’re going to experience discomfort if you do, and discomfort if you don’t. One key step is accepting this, and making room for that discomfort in your brain. In a fitness and sport context that could be things like:
If you’re new to exercise it will feel uncomfortable, and you’ll likely not be very capable to start with.
In conclusion, establishing meaningful personal values for how you want to live will not only revamp your health and fitness journey, but as you become more familiar with the process and discomfort, you’ll likely see the same idea incredibly applicable to all aspects of life. For further reading on the theory side, explore ACT therapy or training. As always please let me know if you have any questions in the comments, or hit us up on social media.
Keeping in trend from my previous blog posts I’m going to front load the practical takeaways, and if you want to read on and get the rundown you can.
Add a 5-minute cardio-based cool down and stretch after every lifting session, especially if you train in the late afternoon/evening.
Combine your training warm-up (if you aren’t doing one, start) with positive self-talk and positive mental framing to prime yourself for a good session.
‘I feel shitty’, ‘I’m still super fried from last time’, ‘Oh god it’s THIS session’.
‘I have a bunch of fatigue, but I’ve been training real hard, that’s expected’,
‘I still have fatigue from the last session, but repeated bouts of fatigue are normal in training. If I have concerns, I’m sure I can ask my coach.’,
‘This isn’t my favorite session, but that’s probably because it pushes me out of my comfort zone, or it’s things I need to work on the most.’
Allow yourself to feel good and proud when you talk yourself out of a negative or neutral choice into a positive one. Example, going to the gym even though you’re tired, and you’re busy, and you’re not feeling it. But you go anyway.
HYPE THAT SHIT.
The why - positive self talk
Now to begin in the middle! As a foreword, I believe sport psychology is a criminally underutilised avenue of resources. The way I choose to frame it [foreshadowing detected] is that compared to other things we do in aesthetics, health, or sporting pursuits, mere thought takes up very little time and very little of the resources that we use elsewhere. That being said...
I AM NOT A SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST!
These are just practical tips that have both anecdotal success with my clients, and have professional vindication from the smart people with the letters in front of their name.
Let’s dive into my practical examples. Everyone should have a warm-up in their training, it vastly reduces injury risk, and substantially increases performance output. One thing a lot of people don’t have is a cooldown. Especially if you train later in the day, the heightened alertness and sympathetic nervous system engagement can disrupt sleep and elevate cortisol, both of which impede recovery and subsequent training. Adding a 5 minute cardio based cooldown and/or stretch period where you deliberately focus on taking deep relaxing breaths will not only help you wind down from an intense lifting session, but will also hasten your recovery and adaptation to the training.
My second tip takes up even less time than the first and you can do it at the same time as plenty of other things: positive self talk, and positive reframing. This is one that everyone could do better with - you, me, your mum, your dentist, everyone. It is incredibly easy to allow negative emotion to creep into your mental loop when you are not obviously progressing,succeeding, or feeling good. This can develop into negative self talk, either internally or out loud:
‘I really hate this session, it’s my least favourite.’
All of you almost certainly thought about a recent leg day, am I right? Or possibly a heinous hill sprint, sled pushing, acid bath. Thinking about things in this way begins the feedback loop that leads people to have disappointing sessions, or even skip these kinds of sessions altogether.
To avoid this, try reframing your thoughts towards more positive or constructive language:
‘This is my least favourite session, it really pushes me out of my comfort zone. But I need to do it if I want to accomplish my goals.’
The same session, while still not a fun prospect, now presents as a necessary step to success. This is why objective targets like competitions, scale weights, and personal bests can be very motivating, as they can be used as a carrot to get you to reframe things towards what you want.
It’s hard to explain the ‘why’ without getting the water super muddy. Let’s try another example.
‘I’m super tired from the last session so maybe I’ll just skip the gym today.’
What we need to do here is acknowledge the facts that are underlying this feeling:
Fatigue from training is normal.
DOMS can be very uncomfortable, and pretty scary especially for new trainees.
Is skipping the gym objectively a good idea? Or is it just the easy choice?
We can now take a more pragmatic view of the same situation, and constructively rephrase.
‘I have some fatigue from the last session, I’ll make sure and tell my PT so they can change stuff if it’s appropriate.’
‘I’m pretty fatigued from last time, I’ll make sure to train a different body part or discipline this session so I have plenty of time to recover.’
I hope this illustrates that positive reframing of thoughts can really hard pivot how your session/day/week is going to turn out. I must add the caveat that it is not easy, and like anything takes focused practice to get better at - which leads me to my last tip.
I am proud of you.
Not to wax poetic, but I encourage you to bask in the satisfaction of good choices made. Any time you find yourself with your hand outstretched to the biscuit tin like Smeagol but manage to pull away and resist temptation you should be happy with yourself. You should hype yourself for those positive choices. People love to belittle and criticize these small victories because they seem insignificant, but considering that the world at large has an obesity problem, when any of us have a moment where self-discipline kicks the door in and you make the harder choices, it is a win worth hyping. Even if it’s only to yourself.
I’ve talked about it before, but those small wins can be built upon to create an upward spiral of good choices that can propel you through things that used to be challenging. You can use them as fuel to overcome harder and more challenging choices - even better, as you get more and more practice, and become more and more disciplined you’ll start crushing it.
What can get in the way of someone who will go out of their way to get their training in? Double shift at work? Doesn’t matter, they’ll get it done. Moving house? They put down a Kit Kat when they already had the foil off - compared to that, shifting boxes and furniture AND getting a lift session is child’s play. Build on those small wins, and let yourself feel awesome about it, then very little can stop you.
First for a while for us, here we have a cheeky guest post from another class coach in Scotland Callum Stewart.In this blog for us he discusses how to get back to training for sports without snapping yourself. If you want to find out more about him, check the about the author section at the bottom.
Some guidance on avoiding a 1 way ticket to destination fucked
We all started 2020 full of hopes and dreams. Ready to tackle the year, and dominate in our chosen sport. Make sick gains, and achieve all that we wanted. THIS WAS THE YEAR WE WERE GONNA MAKE IT (Don’t worry, we all gon make it brah’s)
And then along came Covid 19.
Aaaaaand the world ground to a halt. Lockdowns (to varying extents) were implemented around the world. A virus instilled terror and panic. Every man and their dog had cleared the supermarkets out of toilet roll (Still can’t figure that one out), paracetamol and dry food goods.
US Doomsday preppers were READY for this moment (Then proceeded to lose their minds and turn up to protests with guns because ‘Murica - Fuck you gonna do, shoot the virus?!). People ranged from sensible / cautious to mass hysteria. Cough in the streets and you were a social pariah who should be burned at the stake. In the UK, bars, restaurants, leisure facilities and gyms were all shut. Sports was cancelled indefinitely. For many, doomsday was upon us. For many it felt like it was never gonna end.
But, infection rate started to decline. Likely a multitude of reasons have impacted this such as lockdowns and people actually fucking washing their hands for a change. People started wearing masks and stopped licking dirty surfaces. A Phased return to “normality” began to occur. Now (In Scotland), as of 07/09/2020, we have been back to the gym for a week. Phased return of non-contact sports training, with reduced numbers and social distance restrictions implemented, have also begun. However, competitive sport still appears to be a while away, which is great, because it gives coaches a chance to implement a proper “pre-season” with their athletes.
And with such a long lay off, they are going to need it.
If done correctly, the return to sport can be done safely and effectively. From a physical preparation perspective, athlete’s could be in a better position to return to sport than they were Pre Covid. However, most sports coaches don’t know dick about exercise physiology and biomechanics (This is why athlete’s should have a Strength and Conditioning coach).
Ok, that might be a little harsh (sorry to any triggered skills coaches), but there is an element of truth in it. Skills / sports coaches may also fall into the “this is how we did it in my day” camp. Sorry pal, but sports science has progressed since the cold war. Ask any athlete and they will have some utter horror stories from pre-season. Sessions which made them puke, a coach screaming “go hard or go home” or similar bullshit. That these sessions “build mental toughness” and getting thrown straight into intense fitness testing on the first session back? Sound familiar? For most it is.
That’s not to say pre-season should be easy. But, a normal pre-season can begin within 2-6 weeks from the end of the previous competitive season. In Scotland? We have been away from sport training for SIX. FUCKING. MONTHS.
Having the attitude of absolutely killing your athletes on the first couple of sessions back is a one way ride to destination fucked with no return ticket. You do not need to test their fitness to “see where they are” because they are 100% de-conditioned for their sport, regardless of their activity over lockdown, for the simple reason they haven’t been exposed to competition nor the demands of competition. The athletes as a cohort are gonna fall within one of 3 categories, and all need to be considered when restarting training from both a skills and physical preparation standpoint.
Athlete 1 is a dream. Despite not being able to play sports, they have worked hard to maintain as much fitness as they can. They have engaged in activities similar to the demands of their sport, and have kept up some sort of resistance training regime. Ideally, they will have had access to weights of some description, but will have still gotten by with a sensible bodyweight programme. They may not have engaged in some of the high intensity movements such as change of direction / agility work. But they have either maintained, or even improved both aerobic & anaerobic capacity. They may have maintained some levels of strength, possible even improved. Muscular endurance is maintained or even improved. Sprint performance may have been maintained, or again, maybe even improved.
They have done some work. They have lost some levels of activity, but have also let their foot off the gas a bit. They may have mitigated too much detraining effects. They have been dabbling between exercise and playing Fortnite. Overall, they are not in the worst shape, but they are definitely not match fit. They will likely have done 1-2 conditioning sessions and a couple of circuits. They may have had access to resistance training equipment, so may have maintained or even improved strength, but still lost fitness in other areas. Not ideal, but far from a nightmare.
Probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out athlete 3. They have become full time Twitch streamers, and have binged Netflix. Not a series or 2, but Netflix. They have maybe done the odd bit of exercise sporadically, but realistically have done very little. Psychologically, they may actually be in a better place than athlete 2 & 3 as they have had a proper break. But physiologically, they are gonna out of shape, quite considerably. These athlete’s are at the highest risk for returning to play.
Similar to armour, you are only as strong as your weakest link. If you are a solo coach managing large groups of athlete’s, This may be frustrating for athlete’s 1 & 2, but they can be given supplemental work to ensure that they don’t detrain. If you treat everyone like athlete 1, you are seriously running the risk of overload injuries (Hamstrings strains / tears) and structural damage to the soft tissues. All of which can be avoided by a sensible reintroduction to training. So how should you go about that?
A general physical preparedness (GPP) block is 100% your first bet. Sport itself is not going to be back for a while, so you do not need to get straight back into high intensity sport specific skills. That’s not saying you shouldn’t do any skills, far from it, but you need to build a base. Start off low- moderate intensity and keep the volume sensible. Look to gradually increase this volume over time, and gradually bump the intensity where appropriate. Below, I have highlighted some considerations for different aspects of physical preparation.
If athlete’s have not been exposed to high speed running over lockdown, then this needs to be introduced carefully. Going straight into flying runs, sharp decels and pushing distance sprinting is significantly increasing the likelihood of a hamstring injury. With sprint work, start basic. Work on some positional work (A marches, A skips, B skips, wall drills etc) This is a great chance to work on some positional issues. It is also a chance to work on accelerations. Keep the volume low, and short distances for the sprints. Encourage a gradual run off as well, and not sharp decelerations. Make sure you are also allowing plenty of recovery. Sprinting and speed training is not anaerobic conditioning. Improving repeated sprint ability (RSA) is not the same as speed training. Going straight into on feet RSA work is also a bad idea. If you are hell bent on athlete’s doing RSA training, get them on a bike or rower.
Again, keep it sensible. Don’t overload the volume straight off the bat. Keep the intensity / complexity low and gradually build back into it. You don’t want to risk developing a repetitive strain injury (RSI). It is worth doing a check on basic movements first (Landing, take off mechanics etc). Even if an athlete was competent before lockdown, if they haven’t been doing them then they will have likely need to relearn the neural pathways / technique required to perform them safely. It should be obvious (but ill say it anyway) diving into heavy shock training like depth landings / depth jumps from a high height is also not the wisest decision in the world. By slowly reintroducing plyo’s / jump training, then you are ensuring the connective / supportive tissues are not being overloaded, thus reducing the risk of injury.
Change of direction/agility
These can be introduced from the start, but with caution and sense. Looking firstly at change of direction (COD – And no, not warzone get off your PlayStation), you want to start back gradually. Starting off slowly in terms of speed of approach into the cutting manoeuvre is a sensible approach.
This is especially true of cutting angles / turns > 90°+. The reason for this is that cutting / changing direction involves multidirectional forces. Multidirectional forces are far more likely to cause injury than forces in a single plane of motion. A prime example of this is an ACL rupture where the ligament is exposed to high force under flexion and rotation (Such as a cutting manoeuvre) and the ligament snaps. This is even more likely if the knee is in a valgus (collapsed inward) position. Unsurprisingly, this is something we want to avoid.
So, to avoid injuries like an ACL rupture, the athlete’s need to be gradually exposed to these sharp cutting manoeuvres. They can be exposed to less sharp cuts (< 90°) at higher speeds. Curved linear running is also a useful tool here (running round in a circular/ oval line) to prepare the athlete’s for these kind of running angles.
Over time, you can increase the severity of cutting angle, as well as speed into the cut until they are back up to “game speed”. By following this logic, you are helping the athlete(s) adjust to the stressors of the game / these higher force manoeuvres in a sensible, logical fashion. Win win.
Swole may be the goal, and size may be the prize. But training like a fucking moron upon return to the gym will get you nowhere. If you are engaging in other sports training you need to be sensible. Hell, even if you aren’t and athlete and returning to the gym, then you need to be sensible. Going straight back into rep max testing to “see where you are at” is monumentally stupid. Don’t do it. And don’t base your numbers off old maxes, as they are more than likely well off as well. When getting back into hoisting tin, use some form of RPE / autoregulation for the first 4-6 weeks to let your body adapt to the stress of lifting again. You cannot make the body adapt faster just by absolutely beating yourself into the ground. Returning to sports training also needs to be considered. If you have a hard running / conditioning session the next day, doing your squats & / or deadlifts the night before is probably a bad idea. If you are doing your own S&C programming, consider all other training (much like you would normally) but right now its better to be over cautious. Similar to cooking a steak. If you under cook it, then you can throw it back on the pan. But if you over cook it, then its fucked.
As I mentioned, there are 3 types of athletes. From a coach’s perspective, you can give potentially athlete 2, and definitely athlete 1 some supplemental work to ensure that they don’t detrain. They are already ahead of athlete 3, but that doesn’t mean they are ready for sport. The same principles as above still apply, they are just going to be ready for action quicker. With the extended off season, you really have a fantastic opportunity to increase the physical parameters required for your sport, if you approach your training sensibly.
I hope this article has been informative, for both coaches and athlete’s alike. As always, if you have any questions then slide up in the DM’s on the socials (Links below) or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, and as always, stay strong
Getting back to regular lifting, without snapping yourself.
In light of our previous posts and the fact that gyms are looking to reopen, here’s a free block of training designed for reintroduction. It should also be very doable without too much time investment upfront, whilst gyms juggle maintaining cleanliness within the guidelines, and access may be reduced from pre-COVID times.
With that said, let’s cover some FAQs that might come up and some general guidelines for using it.
First up, training frequency changes. We see sessions per week go from x3/week to x4. That is intentional not only to allow for the decrease in session availability under new opening guidelines for gyms but also because if you’ve had significant time off from lifting weights your recovery may not be up to what it used to be.
Next, in all likelihood, YOU WILL FIND THESE SESSIONS VERY EASY! That is almost the entire point. After a reasonable amount of detraining has occurred jumping back in at anything close to what you were last doing is a recipe for negative outcomes. This is designed to get you back into the groove of lifting weights, going to a gym again, and the very low loading should give you plenty of time to work on your technique.
‘Can’t I just go back in and see where I’m at?’ You’re a grown-up, you can do whatever you want, however going back into the gym with little to minimum training through the lockdown and maxing out is a bad idea, here’s why:
‘Oh my god everything just feels so heavy.’ Yes, it will. You aren’t adapted to loads you were adapted to pre lockdown. I’ve run variants of this block with clients that have been training with us since we were allowed to coach folk outside, and we’re lucky enough to have the ability to get kit outside easily. So far the theme has followed a decently consistent trend where people will work to a weight in week 1, it’ll feel heavy but move fine. Week 2 they take that weight for their sets again, and it feels fine and moves great. Week 3 more of the same, and week 4 it’s pretty much back to feeling how that weight used to feel. This holds less true for people at a higher level of training/are stronger since they have a bigger hill to climb. However, after closer to 7-8 weeks, they are also starting to feel normal around those weights.
Lightning Round FAQs:
‘Can I swap X for Y?’ If it’s not the main lift, sure.
‘This is super easy, can I just go heavier?’ No, just do it as written, and enjoy the easy times after all the horrors of 2020.
‘X lift now hurts, or I can’t do X lift what can I do instead?’ If you have a regular substitute for one of the lifts for working around an injury or movement impairment then please sub them out.
‘I can’t get in the gym that many times a week due to availability’ In these times that’s totally understandable. Putting the main lift from 1 session into another is a reasonable workaround if your gym is turbo full.
‘I’ve never used RPE based ratings before, what do they mean?’ No worries, here’s a handy chart explaining what to aim for with each RPE. We also wrote another blog post on the subject here if you would like to learn even more on the subject.
‘I’m struggling to recover between session, what should I do?’ That’s okay, firstly space out the training more so you have two rest days between session. Then make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and have a decent amount of protein in your diet.
I hope you found some use for this programme. If you enjoyed it the full reintroduction programme extends for another three months and includes an appropriate re-testing phase, once you’ve racked up some training again. If that’s something you’d be interested in, free of charge, please sign up to our newsletter. You can do that here.
If you have any questions about the programme or training in general, or just want to see pictures of my cute dog please feel free to reach out to me on social media or by phone on 07843024606.
With the end of gym lock down on the horizon, a lot of folks will be chomping at the bit to get back into and shift some tin. But some people won’t, to some it feels like the months of doing nothing, or little is such a big setback they’ll never get back on track. It’s very easy to slip into this mindset and lamenting over past things done, and goals now too lofty to achieve.
I’m going to attempt to fix that for you, with some practical tips, not only for fitness & health but any passion project or career you’re thinking about. They’ll start out a bit hand-wavy, but I’ll try to include some practical examples.
Just Show up.
I don’t believe in saving the best till last so if you only read the title and then this tip you have all you need. Just showing up, or just starting whatever it is you’re trying to achieve will get you so much further than you think. Doing even 1% is so much more significant than 0%.
If you find yourself thinking ‘Uggh, I’m still pretty sore from training yesterday, I’ll give today a miss and see how I feel tomorrow.’
Instead, try ‘Uggh, I’m still pretty sore from training yesterday, I’ll just go anyway and see how I feel once I’ve warmed up.’
Talk to anyone who’s trained for years, there will be uncountable amounts of times they’ve felt awful and wanted to skip a session or even a week. But they went anyway. Even showing up and going through the motions is better than not showing up at all.
Search for positives.
It’s incredibly easy to be negative, like falling out a boat and hitting the water easy. When it comes to achieving your goals, however, you must work to be unwaveringly positive. If you want a different framing on it, be aggressive. Constantly aim to take actions towards what you’re trying to achieve, rather than sitting being passive or inactive.
If you find yourself thinking ‘This is so difficult I don’t even know why I thought I could do this.’
Instead, try framing it like ‘I’m having a really hard time with this, maybe there’s something I’m missing? Or maybe I can find help or support from someone to get me through this sticking point.’
Struggling is 100% okay!
I’m leaving that as its own line for emphasis. It is okay to struggle with stuff or to find things challenging. The best way around that is to ask questions.
All journeys start with a single step and that’s as #inspo as this blog post is getting. I’ve mentioned it previously in other articles, but the momentum built from small successes cannot be overstated. I literally started this article the same way.
“Write the title, oh well that’s easy cause I think it’ll just be the most important tip, then just repeat it for emphasis. Okay, we got a title AND the first tip, let’s get tip two done.
For a fitness-based example if you’re ever thinking ‘I don’t have time to meal prep for the week, it just takes too long.’
Try prep one meal ahead of time, hell if you have the stove on, might as well cook enough for two meals? That’s still two whole meals you don’t have to scrounge up at the time. Two positive steps to improving your health, and achieving your fitness goals. AND you now have some free time where you’d normally be cooking those meals, what could you fill it with?
A good plan now.
A good plan now is better than a perfect plan later. Translated as don’t pretend procrastination is planning. You will need to adapt your plans as you go, that’s a guarantee.
Do you need the most dialed in and properly phasic training plan if all you want to do is get a bit stronger, or shift some timber, drop a dress size? No. Training is like medicine, if you need the advanced stuff, things aren’t looking so good. Don’t sit inactive with analysis paralysis, pick something, see it through, reassess and go from there.
Deconstruct your goal.
This one goes hand in hand with the idea of the small steps. If you sit down and break your likely large goal into smaller chunks, which can then be broken down even further you give yourself a much greater chance of success, and far less chance of being overwhelmed.
If you’ve ever broken a set of high reps into multiple counts of three, or five, congratulations, you’ve already done this before. Taking something daunting like a set of twenty rep squats, and turning it into five reps, four times, makes it seem way easier. I can do five reps, I do that all the time, and with way more weight.
A personal example, my tax return. If we ever get audited those poor inspectors are going to have to wade through file folders calling their organisation every curse word under the sun. For those who haven’t had to fill one out this video will sum it up.
My breakdown for doing them is to only do one page a day. The return is eight pages long, eight pages of the most obstreperous and vague questions you’ll ever read, but still. One page a day, I can smash them out in eight days! That’s way easier to deal with.
If this all sounds like mental gymnastics then you’re paying attention. How you frame things and your own mental attitude towards things is a really big factor in how well you do at achieving them.
To round things up, the overall theme of these tips really just merge actions, with policing your own mental framing of things. The biggest thing in the way of the goals that you want to achieve is always yourself. There might be other things that act as speed bumps, but the only thing that can truly stonewall and put a hard stop on your achievements is you. Remember, just show up.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful. If you did please let us know, or if you’d like to ask me any questions hit me up on social media, email, or phone.
Serial Snacking, Steamed Veg, and Shut up Karen, no one cares about your sourdough starter.
One of the common themes we’ve seen or experienced in this dystopian nightmare we’re currently living in is people’s relationship with food. Whether it was early panic buying the shops dry, getting cheffy in the kitchen with all their time indoors, or simply posting about their weight gain/loss throughout lockdown.
The common theme through all of these is emotive. People find safety, comfort, reassurance in food. Whether it’s comfort eating, or knowing you have plenty of food for if everything went Pete Tong and you had to live like one of those Cold War preppers.
This isn’t a diagnosis, I just find it interesting. So, I’m going to list out some tips that can hopefully help you work towards whatever nutrition based goals you have, or would like to get back to working towards.This isn’t a diagnosis, I just find it interesting. So, I’m going to list out some tips that can hopefully help you work towards whatever nutrition based goals you have, or would like to get back to working towards.
Start small. The momentum generating effect of small concurrent successes can never be overstated. Rather than worry about meal prepping a week’s worth of food, or planning out a 12-week diet plan, just make your lunch for tomorrow. If you have enough ingredients handy, maybe even prep the next day. Then build on this first positive step, you’ve just freed up time you’d normally be making lunch tomorrow, maybe swing by the shops and grab some more stuff to prep more lunches?
Split your proteins. Proteins, especially meats, are usually the most costly part of people’s week to week food expense unless you have a serious taleggio addiction… they are also often the hardest part of the days’ meals to eat. As most people have found out in lockdown there’s only so much chicken you can choke. So, try and mix your proteins together, add some plant-based proteins like chickpeas or lentils. It’ll make your meat sources last longer, and bulks out your meals, as well as upping your fiber intake.
Use your time in lockdown to try new recipes. Honestly, I feel like the thing no one tells you about being an adult is how often ‘what should have for dinner?’ is asked. I encourage you to push the boat out and try something you’ve never made before. You may find an ingredient combo or sauce recipe that adds a new level to meal prep potential, as well as being something you can make for the people close to you.
We sometimes turn to ya boy Gordon Ramsay for some great food inspo and well explained tutorials.
Find your biggest calorie sink. Much like a large, overlooked expense finding which meal in the day is the biggest chunk of your calories is critical information. If 60% of your current calories come from your evening meal that’s the best place to start your rework. It will also likely be enough of a deficit to rework that one meal to get your numbers going in the direction you want. If you’re a serial snacker aim to consolidate that habit into 3-4 more complete meals through the day.
Try to find some introspection. They say know your enemy, well with regards to eating habits the enemy is you. As I mentioned earlier people seek a variety of emotions and feelings in food-related pastimes, and one of the biggest things you can do is to understand what drives your choices for your unhealthier eating habits. If you find that you typically comfort eat if you’re sad, or maybe you snack relentlessly when the work stress piles up. If you identify where these things typically happen you can help future you out a tonne. Don’t leave high-calorie snacks around where you work, if you’re feeling sad or low, try reaching out to friends to talk about it, or do an activity you enjoy and find relaxing, rather than food.
The current year has been an odd one, and I imagine it’s been a wake-up call for some people with regards to their health. As an asthmatic who skimps on the cardio in favor of being a meathead, I certainly have. I hope you’ve found something useful in these tips, and remember don’t be disheartened if you’ve let things slip and it all seems like a lot to start all over again. It’s worth it. Start small, build momentum. Feel free to ask anything in the comments, or hit me up on social media!
If you would like to learn more about setting up a structured diet plan, we have an article series on exactly that, just click here.