- Nobody is judging you. We were all new once and only dicks take the piss out of new people in a gym- the rest of us take the piss out of those dicks (not new people).
- Most people in gyms are not experts so don’t assume what that person in the corner who looks like a pro is doing is ‘right’.
- There is no one way to train so don’t worry if people are doing different things to you.
- If you aren’t sure how to do something ask a member of gym staff. They are doing this job because they like helping people.
- Book in for an induction – gyms are a lot less scary when you know how the equipment works.
- Get a programme if your gym membership offers it- it will give you a good starting point.
- Try classes. They can be a great place to start if you aren’t really sure about the gym itself.
- Smile at people. Gym regulars tend to be a friendly bunch and we don’t think it’s weird talking to people we’ve never met in the changing rooms.
- If you aren’t keen on the first thing you try try something else – there will be something you enjoy and that will be the best way for you to get results.
- You don’t need to train every day. If you currently never exercise doing something once a week is a 100% improvement on your activity levels. You will still see results – it doesn’t have to be seven training sessions a week or nothing.
I’ve written previously about the fitness programme for group exercise instructors and enthusiasts which I’m involved in and have also completed myself, Jump 4.2. For six weeks across November and December Jump 4.2 is holding shorter 6 week Christmas Shred (the Christmas JUMPer shred- get it?). So given that I think it’s always tough to stay on track with your training and nutrition at this time of year (I work in an office with never ending mince pies, chocolate and meals out over Christmas I thought it would be great to try and do the Shred alongside everyone taking part.
We started last week (well we technically started on 11th November when everyone got access to their learning platforms and lots of videos to watch introducing the Shred, how everything would work and covering some basics on training, nutrition and goals.
Week 1 then commenced with some ‘testing’ exercises to do (in other words some key exercises to do and record where we currently are with them) which I mixed in with my normal training for that week, calculating how many calories I should be aiming for (now I normally use an online calorie counter so calculating using the traditional calculation method was an eye opener as I came out with a lower amount than the calculators provide) and adjusting how many calories I was eating to fit in with this new target. There was also some mindset videos to work through focusing on being productive with your time. That’s going to come in useful over the next few weeks as I try and fit up to five workouts into my week at what is (as I suspect it is for most of us) one of the most hectic periods of the year.
Already after one week I feel good. It’s always rejuvenating to refocus and I’m looking forward to getting some tough training sessions in, seeing if I improve with any of my weights (I’m not that competitive so this is something I struggle with normally) and hopefully using the accountability of the group to keep my mince pie consumption to normal person levels (note to self a whole box of mince pies and a family sized yule log is not a small daily snack even if it is Christmas!).
I’m going to keep you up to date over the next six weeks, partly to keep my self accountable and partly to hopefully inspire some of you to stay focused whilst still enjoying Christmas.
If you have any questions about what I’m doing or think you might be interested in taking part in Jump 4.2 in January let me know and we can have a chat about it.
Yesterday I set out to prep my meals for the week in 30 minutes.
It ended up taking an hour because I set all the fire alarms in my building off!
But still, 5 lunches, 4 dinners and a couple of snacks plus a fight with a smoke alarm in 60 minutes – that’s not bad going.
They aren’t the most impressive meals – I’m not being invited onto Masterchef anytime soon, but they will all taste good, are nutritious, are made up of real foods – carbs, proteins, fats – the lot.
It’s not that you don’t need to cut foods out of live off kale and air to be healthy (that wouldn’t be a bad point to be fair).
It’s not that if you’re busy through the week a bit of meal prep once a week is an amazing tool to keep you on track to your nutrition goals (again pretty good point).
It’s to manage your own expectations of yourself and your week.
Typically Sunday is my only day ‘off’. I know I need to prepare food for the week but if that took up my whole Sunday how often would I end up sacking it off?
So I accept that my food is a bit simple, nothing fancy, in exchange for only needing an hour to get it all done.
If cooking was a relaxing pleasure for me I’d possibly spend longer on it, but that’s not the case.
I try and apply this logic to my fitness as a whole – what would be ideal? How would the ideal affect my life? If it would make me stressed or resentful sod the ideal and find something more realistic to stick to.
One of the classes I teach is Les Mills Body Combat. This was the class that made me want to become an instructor so I really enjoy teaching it and always encourage gym members to give it a go.
I do get that it can be a bit intimidating for new people the first time they come to class. The moves are fast and the terminology can be confusing! But it’s also great fun and punching a kicking the days frustrations away can be incredibly satisfying!
If you are thinking about trying a class for the first time but are nervous and unsure of what to expect here’s a few things that I hope will help ease those uncertainties and allow you to have a great first experience:
- It might sound obvious but tell the instructor you are new at the start- it will help you feel relaxed and they will be able to make sure you’re ok throughout the class and will make sure you have a good first experience.
- There are three formats of the class- an hour class (10 tracks so sometimes it will be shorter as the length of a track can vary depending on intensity), a 45 minute class and a 30 minute class. The tracks in the shorter (express) versions are selected to still ensure you get maximum benefits from the class despite the shorter time frame.
- Body Combat is mixed martial arts inspired. You will experience tracks based on a variety of martial arts throughout the class as well as incorporating some MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training.
- Don’t worry it’s non – contact. You will be punching and kicking an imaginary opponent or bag (so the air really!)
- You don’t need any equipment – just you, your gym kit and trainers (and some water!)
- The moves are choreographed to the music but don’t worry if you aren’t great at following a beat at first- you will still be getting your heart rate up even if you don’t get every combination of moves straight away. Following the music and combinations will get easier and when you do nail that combo to the beat you feel amazing!
- You are mirroring the instructor’s movements. If they say right foot forward, they will put their left foot forward so if you imagine they are your reflection in a mirror and mirror their moves you will find you are soon putting your right foot forward without even having to think about it! Don’t worry if you new to group exercise we know this takes time to get used to!
- Once they press play the instructor will generally not pause the music unless you need time to grab a mat. This is to keep the heart rate and intensity of the workout high. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a break if you need one- listen to your own body – the instructor won’t mind, just come back in when you are ready.
- It is a tough cardio workout. You are going to burn calories. You will get out of breath- that’s ok it’s why you are there. If you need to take a break take one, grab some water and come back in when you are ready.
- There are always opportunities to work within your own personal limits. The instructor will give different options throughout the workout to either dial the intensity up or down. So if you don’t want to jump there will always be a move you can do instead that doesn’t involve jumping but still provides lots of benefit. Equally the instructor will be able to guide you in how to improve a move to increase the intensity if you are ready to challenge yourself a bit more.
- If you are new there is something called Smart Start. Effectively it means you are allowed to stay for a few tracks. When you feel like you have done enough you can leave (make sure you stretch before you leave the gym!) then each time you try the class, see if you can stay for one extra track until you can do the whole class. New exercise classes can be tough, we know that, but you don’t need to be put off from trying them because you aren’t sure you are ready for a full class yet.
- There is a lot of terminology that may be unfamiliar – jab cross, uppercut, hook, roundhouse kick etc. It might take a while to remember what each move is but don’t worry you can watch the instructor throughout and over time you will start to take on board what each strike is so you can react quickly to cues.
- When you strike imagine your opponent is your height! The instructor will tell you which body part to aim for with each strike – if you imagine the opponent is your height you will get the most effective workout. Possible.
- It doesn’t matter if you can’t get your leg to head height when you kick (I certainly can’t!)! You will probably find as you attend more often your kicks will get higher, but the range of your kick will have a lot to do with your flexibility so don’t worry if you can’t kick as high as the person next to you – work within your own range of movement and just challenge yourself to kick a bit higher as time goes on.
- If you have done martial arts training some of the moves may feel ‘wrong’. Some of the moves in Body Combat are modified to ensure they are safe and effective for a group exercise environment. It’s a martial arts inspired class – not a martial arts class.
- Combat is an amazing core class. All the moves involve massive work through your core and your instructor will coach you how to effectively work the core throughout the class. So as well as burning lots of calories and increasing your CV fitness you will also find the workout does great things for your waist.
- If you have a question about a move, go and chat to the instructor at the end of the class. We generally love talking to people and want you to get the most out of the class. If you aren’t sure if you are feeling a move ‘in the right place’ ask and we can spend a few minutes on your technique to ensure the following week you are confident you are getting the most out of that move / track / strike / kick.
- Instructors get a new track list every three months- at which point they will teach this in it’s entirety for around 6 weeks. After that they will ‘mix’ older tracks into a playlist to keep it interesting for you and keep challenging your fitness levels until they get their next playlist. In other words – you won’t ever get bored.
- Finally- it’s an exercise class and it’s meant to be fun. Don’t worry if you struggle with a move or aren’t great at certain kick- ultimately it’s all about moving and having fun whilst doing it so try not to take yourself too seriously.
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.
So today’s blog is actually a video. If you follow my blog you know I’ve been blogging about my progress on the fitness nutrition and mindset programme Jump 4.2. This is a bit of a follow up to that where I explain 5 reasons why any group ex instructors or regular participants who train a lot but aren’t getting the results they want should consider doing Jump.
I’m not your traditional advert for a fitness programme. I haven’t had a massive physical transformation in 8 weeks – I haven’t developed a six-pack. What I have gained from working with Ricky is a healthy relationship with food, my training and my own head. I can have weeks where I eat too much and don’t train of course, but now I can deal with them – they don’t derail my progress or make me feel like I need to start again. I know what I can achieve if I want to get super lean, equally I know where my happy place is where I’m fit, healthy and able to enjoy life.
I think that’s what most of us really want. Most of us don’t want to give up cake and cocktails or spend hours in the gym in exchange for abs- we just want to feel good whilst still enjoying our favourite indulgences. If that’s you then I’m the proof that Jump 4.2 works – I’m the most boring yet honest advertisement going!
The last intake in 2019 opens on 1st September. If you are interested and have any questions you can contact me on instagram DM @heather.sherwood or Ricky Long @rickylong42 or @jump4.2.
I have a couple of discount codes for 15% off – if you would like to sign up with a discount drop me a message.
Anyway – here’s my video!
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.