- Work out how many calories you burn a day on average and eat this many (to maintain weight) or 20% less (to reduce weight)
- Swap one of your sugary snacks with a healthier replacement (e.g. a piece of fruit) each day. And yes I know fruit has some sugar in it but a banana over a Mars Bar will help you cut calories and provide less of a post sugar slump.
- Stop having cheat meals. Cheat meals create a restriction / binge / food as a reward mindset. Eat whatever you want whenever you want within reason without viewing food as good and bad.
- Eat protein. Aim to eat 1 to 1.5g of protein per kg of body weight. Will help you feel satisfied without overeating.
- Drink at least 0.033 litres water per kg of your body weight each day (so if you weight 60kg drink two litres a day). Fat loss, performance, whatever your goal- hydration is so important to your health.
- Don’t exercise at all at the moment? Aim to complete a 30 minute session every week for a month, two 30 minutes sessions a week the next month and three 30 minutes sessions the following month. Boom = Exercise habit created.
- Increase your NEAT. However much you exercise aim to increase your non exercise movement by at least 10% each day over the next few months (i.e. walk more)
- Get more sleep. Enough sleep every night will help with weight loss, stress, energy levels. Seven hours is goals.
- Learn something new. Want to learn to do a handstand, swim, play netball? Working towards mastering a skill will get you moving without exercise being the main goal itself.
- Set yourself a challenge. Run a race, do a Tough Mudder, compete in a swimathon. Setting a challenge can give you the incentive to get to your training sessions and maintain focus.
Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed with everything that is going on?
I suspect a lot of people do because one of the most common reasons people give for not exercising or looking at what they eat is that they are too busy.
I’ve said here before that really this can be overcome with planning, working out what you need to prioritise and what you can realistically do, being realistic about your goals. I stand by this, but I also get it.
I think it’s a natural feeling to have sometimes, to be completely overwhelmed. Whether you already train regularly, eat pretty well, juggle lots of jobs and tasks or whether these are things you aspire to do but don’t feel like you do right now, sometimes it just feels like there’s too much stuff.
Sometimes out of nowhere the balls your kept in the air for ages feel like too many balls or trying to change one small thing in your house of cards feels like it will bring the whole thing down.
This is when you need to stop and evaluate.
‘Hustle’ is great. If you want things you do have to work, whether that be in your career or working towards your ideal physique, but when you attempt to do everything perfectly you can end up reaching the point you actually are doing nothing because it’s all just got too much.
Sometimes you need to sit and look at everything on your to do list. Take off some of the pointless tasks that don’t really matter. Look at your training, look at your diet and pin point exactly what is you need to focus on right now and forget about everything else you hear about and think maybe you should be doing too.
My plan for the 6 weeks or so before Christmas? Well I noticed these last few days I’ve been putting off important shit because I’ve felt a little bit overwhelmed. When I’m overwhelmed i comfort eat, when I comfort eat I feel sluggish and don’t really want to train.
I’ve stripped my work load back to a manageable amount of work, with the things that will earn me money taking priority. I know I’ll get more results taking longer to do things I want to do but actually doing them rather than just saying I really must get on with that.
I’m going to track my food, not cut stuff out or eat differently (It’s Christmas, there’s going to be cake and I’m not saying no!) just make sure I’m staying within my TDEE. That will make me feel better about training – Training I want to hit hard. Not hard as in spend hours in the gym, but plan my sessions in and treat them like appointments and be 100% present in the session to be the best of my ability that day.
Essentially I’m planning to finish 2019 by focusing on doing the basics well. That’s going to make life feel simpler and therefore reduce that feeling of juggling lots of balls.
If right now you feel like you can’t hit your fitness goals because you’ve too much on try taking a look, seeing what you can drop and what really simple things you can commit to right now to get you closer to your goals by the end of 2019.
I had a conversation with a friend over the weekend about goals.
Goals are great for keeping you motivated and on track with your training and nutrition, and people who are quite consistent with their eating and training are often very good at setting and then working towards goals. This is a good thing obviously, but equally it can cause us to put unnecessary stress on ourselves.
See when we are very motivated to achieve XYZ it can become easy to start comparing yourself to others, to start picking holes in our own progress and under valuing our own results. It can also become difficult to recognise that as your goals differ from other people’s what their success looks like and what your success looks like will also be different. Even more so as your goals change what you measure results on might change at the same time at which point it can become even harder to accept the subsequent changes to our body or strength.
Added to this, most of us generally take on board what other people say and think about our bodies with minimal questioning. So if those around us comment on say our weight when we have been training to increase our strength (as opposed to trying to lose weight) it can be difficult to remind ourselves that our weight isn’t important to us because that isn’t our goal.
What I’m trying to articulate here is that at a really basic level setting goals is a great start to a fitness journey but for people where fitness is already part of everyday life we can sometimes get confused about what our goals are and what they mean by paying too much attention to other people’s opinions and other people’s goals.
For me, previously my goals have been running orientated and next year I’d like to pick that up again, at which point my training and nutrition will need to reflect that. Right now though, if I am totally honest I need a break from a specific goal. I’ve spent the last few years chasing one goal and qualification after another and need a bit of a break. I actually just want to train and eat to feel good.
I often say I’d like to be leaner, but if I’m honest right now I’m no willing to stop eating cake in the quantity I do or train more often or for longer that I currently do, so I’m not likely to get leaner than I currently am as I don’t want to change my current lifestyle.
That will change- probably next year I will reset everything and work towards a running based goal. But until then if I see someone smashing out some PBs, running marathons or looking stage ready and feel that sense of failure that I’m not in that condition right now I need to remember I’m not in that condition because I haven’t trained to be in that condition and I haven’t trained to be in that condition because that is not my goal.
Set a goal by all means. Set one that means something to you. Then work to that goal and don’t be swayed by what other people think, say or are doing. And if you change your mind and change your goal that’s fine, you can always readjust your own goal posts.
The number of views and amount of feedback I’ve had from recent blogs has made me smile. What started as a personal blog, which I pretty much assumed nobody would ever read 18 months ago has turned into a blog that has over 250 regular followers and has been viewed almost 6,000 times. Those figures might not be impressive in comparison to many blogs, but from my initial goal of just writing stuff for me to that is a big personal leap. My more recent personal venture is a spin of podcast. On episode 2 I’ve so far had a total of 36 listens from 18 people (for those who listens in installments it’s true I’m best in small doses!). Those numbers again, aren’t going to break any records, but I’m really happy with them.
I was talking with a friend about a specific comment form I’d received on my blog last night which had been rather positive, and they said this.
“That comment wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t written the 50 odd blog posts before that one.”
I read a similar comment from the online PT James Smith recently about his daily emails – which for a long time didn’t generate him one single sale, but he persisted with the regardless (and I bet he’s glad he did now).
And that’s what today’s post is about.
My first couple of blog posts were read by nobody, unless you count the handful of people I’d made follow me and read.
The next handful of blogs were read by nobody again.
Eventually after a few more posts someone outside the group of people I forced to read them read one.
The numbers stayed at the audience of one for a while. Then it became two, then three.
For months and months and months I wrote blog after blog for an audience that didn’t make double digits.
But I carried on writing. They make me no money. It’s purely a labour of love. I actually enjoyed writing them and I was happy if one person read and found it useful or read and enjoyed. The focus of the blogs changed from online diary to aiming to provide some use to the handful of readers I had. I probably got better at writing and better at picking topics, the first few times you do anything are normally a bit rubbish.
One day I looked and I had close to a hundred followers. From there growth sped up. From there people started to interact. What the blog is now is more than I aspired for it to be.
But if I had stopped writing after the first few posts because nobody ever read them it wouldn’t now be the project it is. I had to keep writing to an imaginary audience in order to get a real audience. That’s why I will persist with the podcast, as that audience of 18 may not put me on the apple top ten list, but if I stop because of that I’ve no chance of growing my audience, if I continue, it will take time but if I work hard it could well grow.
Of course it helps that I’m passionate about my topic. Sticking with something you care about is a hell of a lot easier that grafting at something you don’t feel a fire for.
Your fitness goals are like this. Well in fact all your goals are like this, but this I a fitness based blog so let’s focus on this. When you start going to the gym will you be able to lift well, will you be able to lift heavy? On day one – nope, day two- nope, day three- sorry still nope.
Now if you give up because you’re clearly just crap at this you will remain as you are forever.
But, if you keep going eventually you will see improvement. That may take days, it may take weeks, it may take months. The improvement will probably hit you in the face out of the blue- you won’t have seen it coming, but at that point you can look back at all the gym sessions where you felt no progress was being made and know that those sessions were the foundation your success is built on.
But it’s like I said about my blog. The time it took to grow didn’t matter because I liked writing anyway- people actually reading them is a really nice bonus.
So you want to find something that you enjoy. If lifting fills you with dread try a class, if you hate running but love swimming why would you buy those running trainers? Because if you can embrace the times when you start out and aren’t amazing you will improve without even noticing it because you’re just enjoying what your doing.
I think James Smith called it “Falling in Love with the Process”. If you can do that it makes personal growth a fair bit easier.
And if you can’t do that, well then simply don’t give up when things don’t happen for you straight away, because you aren’t a toddler and throwing a tantrum won’t get you results, consistency and sticking to something may well do.