As we come into February I’m starting to think about my fitness goals for the rest of the year and to help me focus on what I need to do training wise for them I got my debit card out and started actually booking events.
Actually paying to sign up to that event is a great way of motivating yourself to start doing the actual work required. As long as something remains a ‘maybe’ it’s always going to be easy to put off doing the work you know is required, whereas as soon as you know you’ve committed it makes it much more real.
If you have some goals in mind, like a race you want to run, think about getting yourself signed up as soon as you can afford to, then you can start to look at your training planning from event day backwards and giving yourself a tangible action plan and some incentive to actually stick to it.
You know when you have weeks where nothing goes wrong but it feels like you didn’t do much right either? That’s been this week.
I literally ended the week feeling like, well I need to kick myself up the arse if I want to achieve my goals for 2023.
But actually it’s wasn’t a bad week. I did eat a bit ad hoc but I was also pretty much in calorie range.
I missed a few days training but did still do 4 gym sessions, 3 runs and 2 classes. I average 20,000 steps a day.
Sometimes you need to reflective on the facts of what you did in a week and then compare that reality to what your head is telling you.
Of course sometimes we think we’ve done great when actually we’re not where we think we are. This is most common with our diet, where we forget the coffees and sauces and so on that add calories to our diet as we wonder how we’ve not lost weight when we’ve been so good.
But equally, sometimes we can just be a bit hard on ourselves and focus on what we haven’t done instead of what we have.
Monday is the start of a fresh week, but no matter what your intentions, forget about being perfect and aim to get a few key things done with anything extra being a bonus. You’re much more likely to achieve this and much less likely to decide to give up come Wednesday this way.
I’ve not felt great this week and it’s affected what I’ve eaten and how often I’ve trained.
Mentally I’ve just not had the inclination to stick to the meals I’ve planned and a few times I’ve talked myself out of going to the gym or for a run even knowing I’d actually feel better if I did.
Mindset and training are so very linked for a lot of us. People often say they train for their mental health and I don’t think I’m alone in knowing that I feel better when I train or move daily and worse when I don’t. I also don’t think I’m alone though in saying that if I’m stressed and tired it’s sometimes really tempting to just skip a workout which can end up being counterproductive.
One thing that I have in my favour though is that, by and large, training is a pretty well ingrained habit for me. Whilst I’ve had a couple of days where I’ve dropped the ball a bit I quickly got back into my routine and got some movement in. Generally, during the week, come 1pm I get up, grab my bag and go to the gym. Often I’m in gym kit before my brain registers I’m about to move. By that point it’s kind of irrelevant whether I feel like training or not. I mean, you know how hard getting in and out of a sports bra is? If I’ve dealt with that hurdle, I may as well train.
Creating habits is the best way to create change. If you can get so used to doing something you do it without really thinking and then you’ll keep doing it regularly (think brushing your teeth every morning and night, how often do you think about doing that? You still do it though). Motivation and enjoyment will always ebb and flow so relying on those to train or eat well is a risky business. Making training and meal prepping and drinking water and going on a little daily walks are simple habits to get into which make it more likely you will just do them regardless (and if you do have a few bad days makes it much easier to get back into the habit quickly).
I might find that I don’t see great results this week after a few less than brilliant days, but I have limited damage ad made sure I don’t end up spiralling for days or weeks or months.
January is actually pretty well underway, it feels like we’ve only just come back after Christmas but it’s already 16th. It just goes to show that January is a funny month and I do wonder why we think it’s the best idea to start all the ‘new’ stuff in a month where it’s mostly dark, we have financial and literal hangovers from Christmas and every other day someone tells you it’s meant to snow next week.
Nonetheless, I feel like I’ve got some stuff done already this year. I’ve shift a few Christmas pounds, am in a routine training wise (albeit, I do need to ramp this up if I want to do the fitness goals I’ve set myself this year) and I’ve done one thing that scared me already with my other not fitness thing that scares me hopefully sorted for when it’s a bit warmer.
What I know I need to do on pay day is book in some runs. Right now the goals are a bit too abstract for my brain to kick into gear and make me push myself harder in training sessions, once they’re booked I’ll have the fear factor to help me a bit. I, you see, know that I need a deadline to get stuff done. I’ll quite happily amble along thinking ahh yeah I’ll get to that if I don’t have something concrete to focus on.
I think the best piece of fitness advice I could give anyone this year who has set a fitness goal, whether you be new to the gym or a regular who’s set themselves some big ‘thing’ is select your event or milestone and do something to set it in stone (i.e. book the run, the swim, the competition spot) and use the fear that generates to garner a bit of motivation.
Hands up if the first week of the year has been a bit of a false start?
We start January 1st with good intentions but it’s always a hard first week back, you still have loads of Christmas food, going back to work after a break is tiring and generally we have a bit of a Christmas hangover.
You don’t have to start new habits on 1st January though, not doing so doesn’t preclude you from starting at any other point in the year.
More than that, habits don’t have to be all or nothing. If you’ve made a start this week but have been a bit hit and miss that’s ok.
Hitting 80% of what you’ve aimed to do 80% of the time will still bring better results that a few super strict days now and then nothing the rest of the year.
I’ve trained and eaten ok this week but still had off days, tomorrow I start back with a. Bit more focus on my diet and a bit more intensity in my training (bigs goals set for myself this year).
If you’ve been beating yourself up for not having the best start to the year so far you can still make the changes you want.
Literally no progress this week as Christmas!
To be fair, I have trained most days. It makes me feel good and whilst sessions have been short as I come back from feeling ill, I like training over Christmas, not to beat the calories consumed but for my mental health.
Whether you train or not, diet or not, celebrate or not, Merry Christmas!
Honestly December has just been a cough.
It’s starting to ease now but I’ve just been laid up with this never ending cough, and it’s not just the cough that’s caused issues.
I’ve pulled muscles and put my back out coughing, have had trouble keeping food down and trouble sleeping just with how aggressive it has been and to be honest it gets you down after a while.
It makes training almost impossible and cooking hard because you just have no energy and generally feeling run down doesn’t make you feel good about yourself does it.
I even had to cancel a trip I’d planned to the Christmas Markets in Cologne because there was no way I’d have lasted outside in the current weather feeling like I do.
I can see the end of the tunnel now though. Let’s be honest of course, Christmas is almost here and a calorie deficit isn’t likely unless I want to be a Scrooge. I am looking forward to being able t train a little over the next week or two before a proper re – focus in January.
Well I’m still ill. The flu from before my holiday may have gone but the cough certainly hasn’t. I don’t know about you but so many people seem to have a lingering cough and I am well and truly past it now. It feels like since Lockdown I have no immune system and just catch everything, things my body would have once brushed off are flooring me, perhaps it’s all those months without interaction and everything being cleaned within an inch of it’s life.
Anyway, I feel like my lungs are full of liquid and there is something constantly stuck in my throat. The cough is so violent I’ve had days I can’t keep food down simply because I’m coughing so much, my voice is hoarse, I can’t lie down to sleep and I’m quite simply knackered.
So training has really been low on my priority list, I’ve done bits where I feel ok, although I’m getting short of breath super quickly and it seems to aggravate the cough, but I’ve generally had to take a step back. My step count is lower too, but again I know I need to rest up.
It’s tough but we need to remember that being healthy is more than being fit, strong or a certain weight so sometimes you need to forget all that and focus on getting over little bugs before they become longer more annoying bugs that keep you out of action for longer.
That being said I’d love it if at the end of week 7 I was writing that I could actually go more than ten seconds without coughing!
Week 4 of Project 40 kind of consisted of rest.
After a decent start where my nutrition was in a good place and I’d trained consistently on Thursday I found myself with the worst headache, I originally thought it was a migraine. It’s definitely a cold though and I’ve been laid up all weekend trying to recover.
When this happens it can feel like progress stalls a bit which is frustrating, but it’s important to remember that rest is vital too and pushing through won’t always bring positive results in the long term.
So I’m starting week 5 still feeling a bit off colour but hoping I’m past the worst. This week I’m away from Thursday and so super busy in the first part of the week so I’ll have to be mindful that I can only do so much, but balance and being realistic about things was something I wanted to get better at anyway so here’s my first test.
Week three of project fitter at 40 and I have focused this week on my diet. Having spent the last couple of weeks looking at where I’m at it’s been clear that for me the amount of calories I’m eating is just too high for me to see the type of results I’d like, so this has been my focus this week.
I’ve not looked to make dramatic changes, but I’ve increased my protein intake (to keep me feeling full), increased my fruit and veg intake and tried to remove the evening chocolate and cake snacking that in reality I know is my downfall.
I forgot to weight myself this morning so I don’t know how this has affected the scale but I feel a bit less bloated so I feel like this change is taking me in the right direction. I know my challenge though is going to be the weekend when I’m at home more and will feel the urge to snack more acutely than I would in the week.
Next week I’m going to continue to stick with my focus on my calorie intake but also look to tackle my morning routine.
I’m a snooze button pusher and it means I feel rushed in the morning and that can have a negative effect on my diet and training as I don’t have food prepared, time for breakfast or end up getting a taxi instead of walking to work. I feel like working on improving this will have a dramatic effect on how I feel overall. It will also help me consistently hit 20,000 steps a day, something I used to do easily but recently have been hit and miss with.