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.

Patience, Honesty, Yoga

Over the last two weeks I’ve taken on my own little personal challenge.

I think I’ve mentioned before how I struggle with my flexibility (I know planks of wood that bend more) and as much as I’m aware I need to work on this and it’s something I would always say to clients and class members it’s an area of my health that I neglect.

With this in mind and knowing that tightness in my hip and quad is very probably the cause of a recent knee injury I sign up for a twelve week yoga course.  Several things appealed to me about this course.

  • It’s all video based so you can do it in your own time following the instructor via a weekly video.
  • The yoga instructor is also a Body Combat instructor and having seen a previous video they had produced on mobility wok for Body Combat I felt this was likely to a type of yoga beneficial to my mobility.
  • Each week has a different focus which appealed to both my limited concentration span and learning a variety of moves to be able to use going forward as and when I want or need to focus on one area.
  • The sessions are around 20-25 minutes long and you are encouraged to practice several times across the week rather than just doing one hour long yoga practice- this for me seemed much more manageable.
  • You are also part of a group with weekly Facebook lives where you can ask questions and get feedback, for someone not from a yoga background that is really useful and increases your accountability.

So far I’ve practiced three times in week one, twice on week two and once so far this week (week three) although I intend to get another two to three sessions in this week.

In my head when I signed up I said to myself – I will practice every single day.  That obviously hasn’t happened, but that’s OK, because I’ve gone from zero mobility work to 50 minutes plus a week over the last couple of weeks.  However you look at it, that is progress.

Another thing that I have gleaned from the last couple of weeks – and it’s been centred around the yoga practice but is really key to how you approach all aspects of your own health / fitness regime – is about being honest with your practice.

By being honest with your yoga practice they mean accepting your body and it’s current ability.  That means not progressing a move to progress it until you are comfortable and performing the current move week.  It means acknowledging when you need to adapt a move to get the best out of your session and not being too proud to do so.

These two key elements of the mindset of your yoga practice are equally beneficial when applied to the rest of your training.

I’ve had lots of conversations with people over the last few weeks, and can openly admit it’s something I’m prone to do as well, about the all or nothing approach to fitness.  We want to be fit and healthy – and we want it now.  Society is result oriented and whilst we all want change we also want it now, we tend to be less keen on the idea that those results can take time and require gradual change.  It’s why we do often start a new plan or course with the intention to commit 100%  and then get disheartened and feel like we have failed when we aren’t 100% perfect in week one.  Then we get the urge to quit, start again, that this isn’t for me.

The reality is few of us will ever do anything 100% perfectly.  Life will get in the way, require adaptations and compromises and if we give up on things when the first stumbling block comes along we will not reach our goals.

What experience does show me however is that if you do stick to things for ‘most of the time’ results come.  Set backs are just that, they aren’t the end of the road, simply something to overcome and move on from.  If you are doing nothing and this week you do something you have progressed.  Results may be slower but they will be more long lasting.  Quick fixes tend to be quickly back to ‘where you were before’ as well.

Equally, being honest about where you are and want to be with your fitness is important.

Your goals need to be reflective of the effort you can put in.  If you can train twice a week then training for a physique show is unlikely to be a realistic goal for you.  However, reducing your body fat and getting fitter in two sessions a week is entirely possible.

You also need to be honest about what you are really doing.  Putting weight on even though you’re eating less? Yet you aren’t using my Fitness Pal to track your calories and aren’t really counting the calories in your two coffee shop coffees or the sauces that you put on food because they are barely anything.  It’s easy to think you are in a calorie deficit but when you track EVERYTHING realise you aren’t.  It really comes down to being honest about what you are doing.

You could even go more specific- what do you lift?  Do you lift it was strong technique?  Would you get more out of your session if you lifted less, better?

My message for this blog, which following the conversations I’ve had recently more than just me needs to remember, is this.

Wherever you are at with your fitness goals, it is a continuous journey, when you reach a goal it doesn’t end, new goals will arise and you will keep on working.  What you can do and, indeed, want to do will change over time.  Sometimes you will not do everything right, maybe for days and weeks on end, that doesn’t mean starting over or failure.  Sometimes you will meet people who can lift more than you, are leaner, more flexible and this doesn’t mean you have failed because the only progress that genuinely matters is what you can do now compared to what you could do before.

Patience and honesty are key tools to have in your fitness armour.

Also, I can highly recommend adding a bit of yoga to your life!

I have been practicing Yoga with The Kicking Asanas 12 Week Yoga Challenge.  You can find more information on the services Michelle offers here:

The Kicking Yogi

What’s the hardest thing in the land of fitness?

What’s the hardest thing in the land of fitness?

Working out how to train?

Working out what to eat?

I don’t think so.

For me it’s accepting that you will never be perfect.

You decide to start something – training for an event, looking to drop a dress size, whatever it may be.  You have your plan in place and you’re committed to doing it.  Day one does well, so does day two, then day three something comes up and you can’t eat what you planned or miss a training session and suddenly it all feels like it’s unravelling.  Fast forward a week later and you’ve completely dropped your plan and feel like you need to start again.

It’s so easy to fall into this trap.

It’s why so many people don’t reach the goals they set themselves.

A lot of us are very bad at accepting that one slip up doesn’t really matter.

I’ll admit this is something I’ve always been bad for.  I’d start the week ready to have a totally perfect week and get to Friday upset with myself that it hadn’t happened.

Then I learnt (OK I had drummed into me) that PERFECT DOES NOT EXIST.

BUT.

A couple of not perfect things in an otherwise positive week won’t derail my progress.

Now, I get if you are on show prep or similar and a few days out then a slip up could make a massive difference.  But if you want to feel good on the beach in a couple of month times and go over your calorie goal one day in a week it really isn’t going to matter that much.

As people we tend to focus on the negative over the positive.  So there could be 9 great things about our week and one bad thing and you can almost bet your life we will spend more time thinking about that one negative.

So how do you get the results you want?

You accept that things don’t have to always go to plan for progress to happen.  If in a week you miss one training session but have two really good ones, those two good ones haven’t been cancelled out by missing the third.  If you’ve eaten everything you planned most days but on Tuesday had a cake, that cake hasn’t cancelled out all the nutritious stuff you’ve also fed your body.  If the last month felt really really positive but this week you’ve felt a bit off that doesn’t cancel out last month.

In the same way people say one healthy meal won’t make you slimmer or one exercise session won’t make you fit.  Well nor will the cake make you fat or missing that gym session and going to the pub mean you’re back to square one.

Find your goal. Make your plan. Then stick to it?

Nope.

How about:

Find your goal. Make your plan. Do it as best you can and when life gets in the way don’t start again just keep going and do what you can.

Not as catchy so probably won’t catch on but might mean you’re a little more likely to hit those aims.

What are you prepared to do?

How often do you look at someone on Instagram or Facebook with a before and after picture showing a  massive transformation?  When you do, do you ever think I wish that was me?

People like change, lost six stone, gone from couch to marathon runner.  How appealing does that sound.

So why do we not see more transformation pictures?  Because we don’t like changing.

See to make a massive change in your life you have to makes changes to the way you do things.  That’s the hard thing; that’s why people like the idea of skinny coffee or diet pills; because the idea of doing the same things and getting results just by drinking a magic potion each day sounds amazing.

Reality check.  That isn’t how it works.  If you want results you need to work for it.  And to be brutally honest, you need to work at it for a bloody long time.

Let me introduce you to my friend Emma.

Emma has just finished a 16 week nutrition, training, mindset programme called JUMP 4.2.  Here are her results from those 16 weeks.

Now here’s the thing.  You know what she did?  She ate extremely well for 16 weeks without exception.  She didn’t eat chocolate for 16 weeks – I mean my mind is boggled by that!  She followed the JUMP 4.2 programme and more.

She trained. Hard.  Think of hard and then times it by two to get what I mean.  She did the workouts on the programme and taught her classes and did extra training on top of that.

 

She didn’t need to do that.  I know, as does she, that she would have got amazing results following the programme without extras.  It worked for me, it’s worked for so many others.

But she decided that she was in the right place to really commit and push her body to see what it could do.  She made a choice to do more.  Jump is massively about mindset as much as it is about eating and training- because mindset is crucial to succeeding and being happy with your nutrition and training.  Emma used the mindset work to transform her routine and outlook on her life to allow her to work so hard to make such a dramatic change.

Background done, here’s point one.  Emma made a choice.

Emma decided she wanted to see how far she could go.  She then made the changes, the sacrifices, put in the work to get there.  Those results show her effort over 16 weeks.  She didn’t sign up for a course and assume that would change her.  She knew she had to work and her effort levels are how she got the results she did.

Point two.  Taking that on board – how hard do you WANT to work?  There isn’t a right answer here.  I am fit, healthy, eat well, am in good shape.  I don’t have a six pack.  But you know what- I don’t eat or train like someone who wants one.  I enjoy food, train often but in short sharp bursts, so I know I won’t get those same results from what I do.  I admire Emma massively, I’m also aware that if I want those results I would need to work as hard as she has, which right now I don’t want to do.  I’m happy with that, I work to a level that provides me the results I have and I’m happy with that position.  I know if I want to change my results I will need to change my lifestyle.

Emma and I discussed this and agreed the thing we would love people to understand is you get out what you are willing to put in. Everyone’s happy place, everyone’s goal is different so the level of work rate will also be different.  To be happy you need to find where you honestly want to be and what you are honestly prepared to do to get it and check those two align.

If they do then you will be in a position to reach your goal and be satisfied with your achievement. There are others who have recently completed 16 weeks and reached their goals which looked completely different – some were aimed at achieving certain milestones they set out at the start which were specific sport performance based, for instance. Honesty with yourself about what you want and what you are prepared to give to get it matters if you do want to create change.

Final point, Emma’s journey didn’t really take 16 weeks. It took around six years. Emma was overweight, she lost weight, became a fitness instructor. That in itself was a transformation worthy of pictures and praise. She knew she still was not where she wanted to be. She had confidence issues, didn’t quite feel as happy as she felt she was meant to, having lost lots of weight. She had succeeded but still didn’t feel at ease with her relationship between her diet, training, life.

So the last 16 weeks were an extension of the last six years – a continuation on a journey where she honed new skills to bring herself to a happy place which allowed her to take her results that one step further. The physical transformation in these pictures was 16 weeks, the mental transformation took years.

So if things aren’t moving fast enough for you don’t worry – there are no deadlines for when you must hit a goal, and there’s no harm in reaching one goal and realising as pleased as you are it wasn’t the goal you really needed to hit and taking more action. That wasn’t a failure on the first transformation, just acknowledgement that striving to improve will always lead you to want to improve further and further. I know Emma won’t just stop now, whether she change focus or continues to work as she is she won’t stop growing.

Saturday thoughts:

  • If you want change you need to change things.
  • It’s OK not to aim for what anyone else is aiming for. Pick you goal and work to that. That doesn’t have to be a certain dress size that could be to feel in control of you eating. That’s a transformation too.
  • Change takes time and change is continuous.
  • Don’t be afraid to celebrate your successes.
  • Don’t be afraid to look for help.

This is genuinely not an advert, I wanted to do a blog about something relevant to me and also celebrate my friend’s success but if you want to find out about the programme JUMP 4.2 and how it can help you reach your goals let me know and I’ll be happy to chat.

If you’ve had enough of me talking you can log interest here and get emails about how to join instead!

JUMP 4.2

 

 

After the Happy Ending

People thinking reaching their fitness goal is hard, and don’t get me wrong it is.  If you want to drop 2 or more dress sizes or lose several stone starting from nothing and doing that can be very hard indeed.  It involves making changes to your lifestyle, creating new habits and keeping doing those things week and week.

Getting to your goal feels brilliant. People will notice the change, you will feel brilliant.  But what happens after?

The challenge is that the motivation to keep to healthy habits can be strong when you keep seeing the scales go down or having to buy smaller trousers, but at some point you reach where you want to be and those visible motivators come to a halt.  Of course you still need to do all those things to maintain the goals you’ve reached but now you don’t have the initial goal to motivate you.

In my mind – the initial transformation is tough. What comes after can be tougher (it’s a bit like what happens after the Happy Ever After moment in films).  Now you don’t have the oh wow moments to give you that push.

Mentally, this can be challenging.  If you’ve ever lost a lot of weight you may have had the same (I admit not overly healthy) struggle to not just keep on going.  I got to my aim and just kept on pushing to lose more – it can almost become an addictive feeling.  Of course eventually I realised it was in no way sustainable to keep losing or stay the size I had reached and still eat cake (or well eat really) plus I had discovered weights.  But several years on i do sometimes feel in a bit of a limbo.  I don’t need to lose weight but I’m not as small as I once was and keeping yourself on track and motivated when you’re in that position isn’t always easy, in fact it takes a massive change in mindset and rethinking of your goals.

If you’ve reached your initial goal and now feel at a bit of a loose end, you’re not alone and it’s not unusual.  New goals can be formed but you also need to give yourself a break for not being sure how you feel once you have reached your goal because reaching a goal is really rarely the end of a story.