Jump 4.2 – Week 8

I’ve been AWOL for the last week, rather busy between a mixture of work and personal stuff, and I started writing this blog last Thursday but then never got round to finishing it.  I could have finished it if I’m honest, it’s just that in the grand scheme of things a few other things were more urgent.

So I guess that’s the lesson for me on week 8 of Jump 4.2; time management, priorities and allowing things to slide occasionally.

As a PA / administrator I would like to say I am pretty organised and hitting deadlines is vital for me to be good at my job, this blog would suggest otherwise perhaps, BUT another thing that is vital is knowing how to prioritise your work and getting the most important things done first.

A heavy workload last week, along with a spa afternoon booked in and mum mum visiting for the weekend meant I was a bit limited on time to do things I enjoy but aren’t money earners (like this blog) or non negotiable appointments (my mum, the spa).  So I accepted that some things I wanted to get done but which weren’t essential needed to be put on the back burner.

The thing is (and we all do it) it is easy to get caught up in the tasks we enjoy or feel comfortable with, but sometimes we need to be strict with our own time management to be more productive and serve our self the best we can.  Your priorities will constantly evolve so just being aware of what you need to do compared to what you’d do in a ideal world is the best thing you can do to stay organised.

By organised I actually mean sane.  When you don’t feel on top of your to do list (at work or at home) it’s difficult to feel good within yourself as stress levels rise and self care may begin to slip.  Can you always be on top of your to do list though?  Unless your superwoman/man probably not.  So as much as planning and sticking to your plan is important, part of time management in itself is knowing when to put something on the back burner for a bit, so you can get the important stuff done and feel positive rather than like a failure.

So what did I do in week 8 of Jump?  Well I stayed aware of my calorie intake even though I wasn’t actively aiming for a deficit, I stuck to lots of positive habits most days, I barely trained but decided around Wednesday that I’d accept that because I was actually a bit tired and felt like I needed a rest.  Oh and I had a massage!  That’s not sticking to Jump 100% but it’s not a bad week either.

What I’ve learnt over the eight weeks is more important than what I’ve done this last week.  What I have learnt is to be a bit more pragmatic about my diet and training.  Accept I’m in control of it, but it will still never be perfect because I’m an average person who will have social occasions to go to and days when I want ice cream for breakfast.  The key is to acknowledge that for every few ‘good’ days there might be some ‘bad’ days, yet one bad day doesn’t ruin a week that has otherwise been positive.  In training your mind to accept this you allow yourself the freedom to improve your training and nutrition rather than staying trapped in a never ending cycle of assuming you need perfection to achieve results.

So your training and nutrition is much like your to do list, sometimes you need to adjust your expectations and be flexible with timescales and actions to keep yourself sane, it doesn’t mean you’re doing badly just that your managing your time and your priorities appropriately.

Two things to finish:

  1. If you are a group exercise instructor or do a lot of group exercise classes as a a participant and would like to know more about Jump 4.2 drop me a message, I can answer any queries and maybe even help with a discount….
  2. Because I think it ties in well below is a link to my productivity planner which I designed to help you stay focused when you feel like things are getting on top of you.  If you are struggling to stay focused try using his for a few days to keep you on track (p.s. this is a day organiser not a fitness organsier).

Link To Productivity Planner

 

Jump 4.2 – Week 7

Week 7 and I want to talk about having a training goal.

Previously I’ve always been mindful to think of this as things like run a marathon or reach a certain weight, and they are goals and if they are things you want to do then perfect.

My issue recently has been that I’ve been really busy and adding an extra unnecessary stressor into my life (in my case I was determined to run more races this year) ended up just causing me to get over stressed, injured and not enjoy or even want to train.  What used to be a good focus generating goal for me- running- became a stress that made me feel bad about myself and not want to train.

Same with my weight, instead of the goal of trying to drop a bit of fat motivating me it stressed me out and I probably put weight on, I definitely binge ate and had a guilt based relationship with cake.

The problem here is that training daily is vital for my mental health, it’s an anchor and doing something most days helps keep me happy.  What I eat does also affect my mood- not in the form of only ever wanting to eat salad, but in the way that if I don’t get regular fairly balanced meals

The last seven weeks have forced me to think about what I realistically want.

I don’t mean what I want, because what I want is to be super lean, have super defined muscles, be able to run fast and lift ridiculously heavy weights.

What I realistically want though is to fit training into my day comfortably and enjoy it and eat plenty with variety and some sugary treats because I have a sweet tooth.

Because actually to train for hours a day I would need to let go of another commitment, to create the muscle definition that would be ideal I’d have to cut out a lot of the foods I love.  Really, when I’m honest what I want isn’t some amazing achievement- I’ve got business goals to work on that require my focus – what I really want is a nice routine that makes me feel good, keeps me healthy, keeps me in decent shape and fits nicely into my current week.

So having a goal is important, but the goal doesn’t have to be training for xyz or aiming to be a certain size or weight.  It could be to fit in two training sessions a week or eat x number of calories a day or even work towards improving lift in the gym.

Being a bit more flexible with your thinking surrounding training and eating can allow you to find a focus and goal that is more manageable and enduring than simply picking one of the more traditional goals.

Jump has made me think about my goals and changed my thought process to lead me to a place where I feel happier with my training routine.  I know in the future when things change and I’ve more time I can adjust my goals again but for now I’m exactly where suits me.

You are not busier than everyone else

Time management has nothing to do with fitness right?

Well in a way no, because what will ultimately bring you results is eating and training appropriately to your goals.

But in order to do that you need to have time to get to the gym or your class or out for a run, time to shop and prepare meals.  Sometimes with work and hectic social lives fitness goals fall by the wayside.  The most common reason I hear from people struggling to get into a routine that allows them to reach their goals is ‘I don’t have time.’

The specifics vary.  I’m busy with the kids, I work long hours, I don’t have time at the weekend to food prep and so on.  Essentially though, many reasons come down to the fact that we feel like we are at capacity with what we already have on and adding extra to that feels impossible.

What I’m about to say from here on in may sound harsh.  I don’t mean it to be but I feel it’s something that most of us need to hear and understand if we want to achieve our goals, and if I pussy foot around it maybe the message will be lost.

YOU ARE NOT BUSIER THAN ANYONE ELSE.

Chances are you objected to that statement as you were still reading it.  I’m not saying you aren’t busy.  In fact these days almost everyone is very busy a lot of the time, almost everyone has multiple commitments every day in a variety of forms.  So I’m not saying you aren’t busy but I’m saying that pretty much everyone is busy, and some people do manage to fit training and eating well into their lives.  It is not that those of us who go to the gym have fewer commitments, to suggest that is almost insulting to those people.  What is the case is that those people have managed their time to fit training and eating that allows them to work to their goals into their life.

So if you aren’t too busy to fit some form of fitness into your life what is the issue?

It’s three fold:

  • Self Sabotage

You’ve already decided you can’t fit it in.  I refer back to the paragraph above.  Whilst I’m not saying everyone has lots and lots of time to devote to the gym, everyone can make some changes to work towards their goal.  If, every time a PT, fitness professional or someone close to you suggests something you could do to get started you can think of an excuse then you are stopping yourself from even getting started.  You need to be open to the possibility of changing your behaviour before you can change your body or health itself and if you won’t do this no amount of time in the world will help.  So here, essentially, you need to decide if you really do want to change in the way you think you do.  Do you want to drop a dress size, be able to run a 5k, be able to climb stairs and not get out of breath, whatever the goal do you actually want to work towards it?

  • Not being realistic

You’ve accepted you need to make changes but what changes?  Here is where you do need to be realistic with yourself.  As established above we all have commitments which take up our time.  There may be some commitments you can change or drop, there will be many you cannot.  How much time a week do you actually have to train, to prepare food?  What can you realistically do in that amount of time.  If you have three hours a week aiming to become a body builder is setting yourself up to fail, but there’s lots you can do. If you have ten minutes a day aiming to train for an hour three times a week doesn’t make sense – training 5 times a week for 10 minutes would though.  This is about accepting that this isn’t about following a set guideline of what you should be doing but about working out what you really can do to improve your health and then actually doing that.

  • Not managing your time

Now you have your realistic goals it’s about managing your time.  Here we go back to everyday life time management.  I’m guessing you’re pretty good at managing your work diary?  I’d put money on you know where the kids need to be and when all this week and that morning / bed time routines are probably military tight timing wise!  Really, it’s about fitting your health goals into your week as you do all other appointments.  Diarise workouts, block out that slot for meal prep on a Sunday, work out time saving hacks like you do elsewhere in your life- online shopping, meal prep companies, whatever works for you.

Essentially success with your fitness goals comes down to being good with time management.  Working out when you can train, knowing when you need to think ahead food wise to prevent Uber Eats being utilised as a dinner option and being committed to wanting to make the changes you need to make within your week.

Jump 4.2 – Week 6

Week 6 has been unremarkable.

OK so that sounds a bit crap.

It’s not and here is why.

I’m about to tell you why every programme or diet or plan you’ve ever tried and not completed has gone wrong.

Because nobody, and I mean nobody, does 8, 12, 16, 24, 52 weeks with no bad days or slip ups or missed workouts, unplanned meals, tasks not quite done at 100%.

What we are all prone to doing however is starting things with very good intentions and because we’ve paid for this we are going to do it perfectly and become a new person.

Have you ever seen that clip in the comedy Miranda where she tasks about being the type of person to jog, power walk to work, eat fruit and home baked muffins?  I mean if you haven’t do you even have a sense of humour? I digress however- this is the type of optimism you start any new plan with.  Then life happens (as I’ve said many times before) and you have that bad day / week and feel like you have failed so quit – that programme is clearly not for you… or it’s the wrong time…or you’re rubbish.

I’ve done this, like I’m not pretending I’m the exception here.

Now though I’m a bit different, I’ve approached this differently.

I knew that I wouldn’t be ‘on it’ for 8 weeks. I thought about maybe starting at a different time but at no point would I have 8 weeks to be ‘on it’, so I just started.

This week, much like the last six I’ve been ok.  I’d say I’ve done most of the workouts, eaten ok 805 of the time and done the mindset tasks throughout around 80% of the time.  Some days I have done things I’ve planned, some days I’ve not at all and some days I’ve kind of done them.

I’ve not transformed myself into a different person.

I have established a few more habits that I’m happy with – and when I say established, I mean started to establish- like they aren’t 100% embedded yet but habits take time and sometimes you slip as you work to set things in place.

So this week has been unremarkable- I have no amazing lightbulb moment to share.

I’m still working through the programme though, I’m happy with my progress, and I’m happy this progress is going to be longer lasting than any dramatic quick fix would be.

Social Strategy

When you are trying to stick to a calorie deficit social occasions can be tough and you need to decide on a strategy to not let one day or night out derail your progress.

Below are some ideas of methods you could sue to exercise a bit of damage limitation and still enjoy yourself.

  • Check out the menu beforehand

Have a look online at the menu before your night out and plan what you will eat, that way when you are there you are less likely to over order or order things you haven’t accounted the calories for.

  • Fill up on salad / veg

Aim to include some salad / vegetable items with your meals to help fill you up whilst also keeping calories down.

  • Avoid the bread basket

Perhaps you really like bread, in which case knock yourself out and have some.  But if you’re only eating it because the bread basket it’s extra unnecessary calories.

  • Mix your drinks

Not in the way you think.  Mix water in between your alcoholic drinks to help limit calories through drinks.

  • Eat beforehand

If the social occasion isn’t specifically based around food you might want to eat beforehand so you can easier control how much you eat.

  • Save calories during the week

If you want to stay on track but still have a big calorie night out you could consider creating a bigger calorie deficit across the week so you have extra calories to use on your night out.

  • Eat something you really enjoy

If you going to eat more calories than normal you may as well pick something you are really going to enjoy, that way you are more likely to feel satisfied and less likely to overeat on other elements of your meal.

  • Pick an activity that doesn’t involve food and drink

When planning days or nights out try and plan activities that aren’t just based on eating and drinking.

Jump 4.2 – Week 5

You know when you have those weeks where you just feel a bit blah, where no matter who much you try and do and even manage to do you have a nagging sense of failure.

That’s been me this week!

I’ve actually been pretty productive and got quite a lot done, I’ve trained, and I’ve eaten reasonably well – hitting a small calorie deficit, if not the 20% I was aiming for. I’ve also hardscaped my garden (which felt like it burnt around four million calories as well as burning my back!).

But I’ve not felt brilliant. The tough thing about these weeks is what do you do if you know you’re basically on track but you still feel a bit rubbish – it’s not the same as knowing you feel crap because you’ve not trained or have eaten nothing but takeaways.

What I have done is follow module 5 of Jump, get the training in, modifying it a bit on the days I felt crap and lethargic so I still did it just at a slightly reduced intensity. I’ve done yoga everyday, noted down things I’m grateful for every day, for more fresh air and generally tried to keep myself plodding along without dwelling to much on the nagging anxiety.

When we sign up to programmes or plans or start new health kicks we want 100% perfection and the moment we slip up or don’t do every single workout or eat every single meal we think I’ve fucked that up, I need to go back to the beginning and start again doing it 100% this time. This is why so many people don’t complete fitness programmes however they are structured.

Life is rarely uniform, things crop up all the time and the most successful lifestyles are ones which allow you to ride the ups and downs, have good weeks and bad weeks but importantly not stop and start again after the bad weeks.

To be fair just writing this reminds me that what I’ve felt of as a bad week really wasn’t bad at all, I’ve just not felt very sprightly and have been a bit run down. That’s not a reason to call a week a failure because if anything getting to the end of weeks like that and being able to brush yourself down and be ready for a new week is part of creating a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Under Pressure

An awful lot of the pressure in my life comes from me.  I’m probably not alone in that.  We face enough genuine stress in life without putting more on ourselves, but that’s exactly what many of us do, in one way or another.

I get annoyed with myself if I miss a workout, go over my calorie goals, make a mistake at work. I take these small things and build them into massive issues that can ruin my day- sound familiar?

The first step toward easing off of yourself is to identify when you might be making things harder on yourself unnecessarily.  Recently I’ve been making more of an effort to identify when I’m stressing about something I really don’t need to stress about and change that.

Here are some ways I’ve found helpful for cutting down on unnecessary stress.

1

Understand The Difference Between High Achievement and Perfectionism

When it comes to stress, “do your best” is better than “be perfect,” and in the long run, it’s healthier as well.

If you find yourself constantly going over mistakes you’ve made, noticing more of what you’ve done wrong than what you’ve done right, and getting anxious when you do a good-but-not-perfect job you may want to review how you view your own expectations of yourself.

2

Draw A Line Between Leading A ‘Full’ Life And An Overwhelming Life – Learn to Say No

Leading a full life is great (YOLO and all that) but if you don’t live a balanced life too, you can feel too stressed, too often.

Be aware of how you feel at the end of the day or weekend – if you’re constantly knackered maybe you need to let some things go or say no to some invites to allow yourself some time to relax. Exhausted people lose momentum eventually no matter how many exciting things they’ve done or got planned.

Manage your commitments in all aspects of life to help manage the pressure you put upon yourself.  If something needs to take longer then it needs to take longer, if it really really can’t then something else needs to give sometimes.

3

Think Like An Optimistic Realist Rather Than A Pessimist

Realistic positive thinking (focusing on the positive without completely ignoring and failing to address issues that require a response) can help you to be more effective in your life, and less stressed along the way, research has shown.

One of the best positive thinking strategies you can adopt is optimistic thinking, which is a specific pattern of thinking that allows you to focus your attention on your accomplishments which allows you increase your confidence to do your best in the future.

That doesn’t mean not dealing with problems – just not focusing on them over the positives all of the time.

4

Allow Yourself To Feel Then Take Action

An effective way to help yourself through stressful times is to become more aware of how you feel and why (perhaps by journaling, talking things out with a close friend, or even talking to a therapist if necessary, sometimes it means just having a really good moan) and then once you’ve acknowledged those emotions instead of trying to fix them there and then decide to undertake one or two small activities that will bring something positive to your day.  The activities can be completely unrelated, it’s more the act of just doing something positive and feel good that matters here.

In other words – acknowledge what is getting you down then focus on what you can do that day that is positive (it could be a tiny action) rather than trying to fix your entire mood in one go.  It won’t fix things but can just improve how you feel a little bit.

5

Accept Your Weaknesses, And Those Of Everyone Else

Give yourself a break. You can also relieve stress by giving everyone else a break as well, don’t take things as personally, don’t hold onto grudges, and try to see the best in people by understanding how things may feel from their perspective.

I wrote recently about the fact you can’t be positive all of the time.  In the same way you can’t avoid all stress, these things are just part of life.  You can be proactive in managing your reactions to these stresses, which goes a little way towards making you feel good about things.

Stretch Marks

Do you have stretch marks?  If you don’t you’re in the minority as an estimated 80% of people have some sort of stretch marks.

Pregnancy and puberty are two of the biggest causes, as both situations cause rapid growth, as the skin stretches to accommodate this growth slight indentations / discolored streaks can appear.  Recently formed stretch marks will often be red and glossy but overtime they can become silver in colour and take on a scar like appearance.  Most commonly they appear on the thighs, belly, breasts, hips and bum and whilst more common in women also affect many men.

Stretch marks are almost anticipated in some circumstances, such as pregnancy, and many women will use oils etc. to try and reduce the effect once they discover they are pregnant.  We are often more surprised by stretch marks which occur as part of a fitness programme.

It feels somewhat unfair that making an effort to improve your fitness can lead to stretch marks but rapid weight gain (and even rapid weight loss) can cause stretch marks, so if you are working to build muscle you may see the odd mark form (I recently noticed some stretchmarks on my bicep as my arms have become more defined), and if you find yourself yo yo dieting (rapidly loosing and then gaining weight) you again could find yourself with new stretch marks.

So actually stretch marks are something that is fitness related.  Especially if you’ve had some form of body transformation and changed your appearance dramatically it can be a shock to reach your goal but then find unexpected body changes such as loose skin and stretch marks.

It is of course another good reason to encourage slow and steady change over the dramatic but even then lots of people will still find themselves with a couple of stretch marks.

To be fair, many will fade over time, some might fade so much that they are barely visible and there are things you can use (bio oil, moisterisers) which can help reduce their visibility, and if you want to do that why not- we are all entitled to do anything which help boost our confidence.

However, equally, they should be something we are able to embrace and accept about our body.  Much like periods, which are discussed openly more often now but this is a recent change, many people are ashamed and try and hide their stretch marks (sarongs on the beach, long sleeve tops covering your arms and so on).  The most bonkers thing is, that not only do most people have stretch marks but they affect both sexes so it’s a bit bonkers that we are so embarrassed about them – most of us have them but try and disguise the fact we do.

I don’t want to sound like I’m preaching.  I remember the first time I found stretch marks on my thighs as a teenager, and my distress when my mum told me that there was nothing I could do to get rid of them but they would probably fade over time.  When you are a fourteen year old girl being told the big red streaks on your legs are there to stay knocks your confidence and I rarely wore skirts without tights after that. 

Equally, I know I’ve been really lucky as I’ve gained significant weight and then lost that much and more over my adult life and in more recent years gained a fair bit of muscle (growth) and have managed to pick up only a few small stretch marks (which have also faded quite well over time and are now more like little fine purple lines), so me saying be more accepting about them is easy enough, I understand when any kind of marking is more visible it naturally will affect self confidence more.

So I’m not suggesting everyone should walk around half naked to display them (well unless they want to, and even then you probably shouldn’t go to work in a bikini) but if you have some and they make you feel self conscious remember that for every 10 people you work with or talk to today, 8 will have stretch marks too.  It’s often said that if you got stretch marks from pregnancy to think of them like a badge of pride (which you should) but equally if you have them on your arms and legs because you lost lots of weight or gained more muscle they are still marks showing you achievement.

There’s a lot more emphasis on social media about being more accepting of your body, it’s imperfections and being OK with not being perfect – stretch marks are really just another thing to accept as a normal part of your body doing what it does and serving you a purpose across your life.

Whilst I’m here by the way- cellulite.  You know 80-90% of women have that too… I’d take a picture of that but it’s really hard to take a photo of the back of your own legs…