Results in Real Life

I had a bad week at work. Stressful and early mornings, late nights.

It did two things for me. Firstly when I’m stressed I want to comfort eat which tends to make me feel worse. It also meant I just got out of step with what would make me feel better. When I got in late I either ate quick fast food or just grabbed some toast, in the morning I grabbed more toast at the office. This meant my resolve was low to saying no to the many cakes in the office because simply put, I was already hungry and had limited food already prepped (I did have lunch prepared so I at least had a proper cooked meal for lunch). My brain kind of set into a cycle where I hit the fuck it button with my diet. I kind of trained a bit but I didn’t feel committed to it so all in all I felt rubbish.

You can prepare all you want for the week ahead but sticking to intentions is tough when you face changes to your plans. It goes to show diets and fitness plans aren’t just knowledge dependent, although of course that is the first step, they’re also very mindset based and having the ability to remain consistent in the face of life is the key to getting results. That isn’t about doing everything right no matter what happens, but it is about being able to bounce back from rubbish days and keep going so that you do what you planned more often than you don’t.

Group Exercise Classes

My latest podcast delves into Group Fitness.

I talk about what group fitness really is, the negative spin it sometimes gets, wh I think people should give it a try, what the best group exercise for you is and some tips on how to make the most out of your group exercise experience.

Click Here To Listen

Why do people do this?

There’s lots of things I think you can see both sides of in both life and fitness and plenty of things you see within gyms which you might do differently but are still perfectly valid and can work for that person.

What I will never get in gyms is why people think it’s ok to judge other people and make unsolicited comment to them on that opinion.

Generally speaking, most of us would be upset if someone commented that we looked a bit bigger or smaller or had lost a bit of definition. Even the most confident person in a gym can go through periods they feel a little out of shape and having someone highlight it to them doesn’t really help. Realistically, even people who thrive off dissatisfaction cues or challenge as motivation comments about weight, shape and size can be unhelpful.

It occurred to me whilst writing that this might conflict a little with my last post, but I’m not talking about genuine concern for clients or patients that may arise, more the general opinions we have of other gym goers that are simply nothing to do with us.

As a general rule, unless the person has started a discussion about their body or is seeing you in some form of professional capacity where their health / body is the topic, keeping you opinions in your head is generally the best thing to do. You might have great advice about how you think they could grow those glutes, flatten their stomach, tone their arms whatever, but the confidence you’ll give them with that advice is unlikely to outweigh how they will feel when you point out things they were already a bit paranoid about anyway!

A different side to panic attacks

I had an anxiety attack. When you hear this you maybe think breathing into a paper bag and feeling like you’re having a heart attack? Thats certainly what a panic attack can be like but anxiety attacks can also be a little different.

Where a panic attack might last a few minutes anxiety attacks can last hours, and can build for even longer (even days) and because they’re less dramatic in appearance you can almost go through the day in some king of foggy trance without anyone realising, and even if you realise yourself at the time what can you do? You can’t exactly just say I need to go home can you. Most work places don’t have the policies to recognise this sort of thing or allow for staff to easily say things aren’t right and I need to take time out.

Nothing specific caused it, (it was a little ptsd trigger related I think), a general feeling of being unsettled and over sensitive to noise for a few days became feeling red hot like my skin was on fire, irritable, my heart beating faster and hearing every little noise. As the day went on I felt restless, a bit foggy and like I could cry at the drop of a hat and my skin felt itchy.

As it eased I started to feel almost hungover, tired, a bit sick. Like all my senses had been heightened and as a result I was drained. i couldn’t sleep though.

The annoying thing is I knew I didn’t feel great in the days leading up to it and I’ve had anxiety for a long time. I know why and how to help keep it h see control but sometimes you just can’t. But it’s a weird thing because it’s kind of hidden, you might think someone was a bit ‘off’ but it’s not so obvious that they’re laying there with a broken leg so you don’t know they’re struggling. They might be so distressed at that moment but just come across as having a bad day.

Anxiety Disorder is more than just being a bit of a worrier and people can have anxiety and be totally fine for long periods of time but then have an attack when it is concentratedly worse. Attacks are also more than just being short of breath like you see in films. I don’t think I knew this even when I first started being treated for depression / anxiety and I’m not everyone understands this, but the more people do the easier it might be for people to deal with it.

Advice for the gym 2022

  1. Don’t try and go from never exercising to trying to every day, you’ll feel rubbish when you don’t succeed, knackered and possibly end up injured.  Instead aim to exercise 2-3 times a week which is far more attainable long term.
  2. Don’t cut out carbs, fat, chocolate (it’s a food group) or anything else.  Moderation is key to sustainable weight loss as it’s far more sustainable long term.
  3. Drink more water.  It’s the best health tip you can get, makes you feel better and more energetic and is just good for you.
  4. Gyms aren’t scary once you get used to them, the most nerve wracking thing is walking in but once you’re there you’ll see everyone is friendly.  Get a gym induction or sign up for classes so you can learn the ropes with a gym instructor or exercise instructor, most of the time that’s included in the membership fee.
  5. You won’t get bulky lifting weights.  Like seriously, do you know how hard it is to get that ripped.  What you will get is stronger, more confident, leaner.  There’s nothing wrong with also doing some cardio but incorporating resistance training into your week will see huge benefits to your fitness.

I’m 80% Cheese

Ahhh so we hit that between Christmas and New Year time when we feel alike we consist entirely of Christmas Pudding and haven’t moved much further than from the sofa to the fridge.

It can make you feel sluggish and heavy and like you probably should do something drastic right?

This is the time when everyone tells you not to sign up for any drastic detoxes and embark on some drastic 800 calorie a day Vogue 1970s egg and wine style diet.

And yeah, don’t do that. What might make you feel a bit more virtuous for a few days is unlikely to last long, show any sustainable results and you’re likely to feel worse than you did at the start with an added layer of failed diet remorse.

There are of course better more sustainable ways to feel better in 2022 if that is your goal.

Calories deficits whilst eating normal food, moving more without punishing ridiculously dull workouts, drinking more water (you know the free stuff that comes from taps not some kind of hyped up fitness water at five quid a bottle), getting better sleep, more daylight, eating more fruit and veg. There’s plenty of habits you can incorporate which will help you feel more energetic and better in yourself without having to eat nothing dust.

The truth is these next few days aren’t necessarily the time to start anything much. You could but if you’ve still got a house full of Christmas food maybe it’s not the most realistic idea. But it is a decent time to think about goals, to make a plan so come the first week of January or so you’re ready.

Should you train over Christmas?

Should you train over Christmas?

It’s really up to you. One the one hand if you want to take a break, relax and do nothing that’s perfectly fine. Equally if sticking to your training exactly makes you feel better there’s absolutely no reason you should feel bad about still training on Christmas. You just don’t want to get to the point where you are running a half marathon on Christmas Day because you feel like you should.

This is the thing about training on holiday / over Christmas / during celebrations. There’s a difference between doing it because moving makes you feel good and doing it because not doing it will make you feel guilty. I personally will do something over Christmas, I genuinely enjoy a little 20 minute run on Christmas morning, it sets me up for the day and the fresh air and movement just makes me feel good. I’ll probably go to the gym on Boxing Day or the day after, again because it’s my favourite time to train, I’m not in a rush to get somewhere else so can really focus.

I think that’s the sign that you train in a way you like. If the thing you normally so in the gym feel like a punishment that you deserve a holiday from maybe it is time to try some new things and do something that makes you feel good, you enjoy, you actually kind of want to do, even if you occasionally have to drag yourself to it initially.

Even then if you want to take a break over the holidays do it. See training as a complimentary thing in your life.

Fitness Business Tips

Bit of a different blog today – I send out emails occasionally regarding running a fitness business – here’s today’s email about planning for the next 12 months and some things to think about …

I think for plenty of people in fitness, 2020 and 2021 have been a bit all over the place business wise.  Gym closures and changes to capacity, people’s training habits and general uncertainty have led to changes for almost all of us, some dramatic, some less so, some positive, some maybe not.

The new year is a great time to look forward with your business though, make changes, fine tune things, start new projects.

So here’s my practical tips for 2022 which I hope might help some of you as you hopefully take some time to review your plans for the next 12 months:

  • The goal of business is not to make a loss just to not pay tax.  Buying things for your business you need will of course reduce your profit thus your tax bill, but buying things for your business for the specific sake of reducing your tax bill (as many people often seem to do) is a false economy as all you’re doing is recuing your profits by buying things you don’t actually need.
  • Instead look for ways to increase your actual profits so you’re happy with your income after paying tax.  This of course is done by selling more of your product but you can also do this by reducing outgoings smartly.  For instance,  are you a group ex instructor or PT as a second job?  See if you can volunteer to be a first aider for your workplace meaning you don’t have to pay for your own First Aid training.
  • In terms of increasing your business do you have lead generators set up?  If not this is the year to sort that.  Do you have a mailing list to keep in touch with people (if they leave your gym, can’t come to class and so on)?  Do you advertise on Instagram but only to your current contacts without thinking about reaching out to your potential customers via paid or unpaid options?  Have you established enough of a brand that potential customers feel you are the fitness professional they want to trust?  Do you need advice on how to do these things?  If you do maybe this is the year to look into this, because being a great coach is only part of running a self employed business.
  • On that point though, are you still being a great coach or instructor?   Especially over the last couple of years as client’s needs and situations have changed it’s important to check that we are still offering the best service for clients.  Lead generating is important but ultimately retaining clients and getting referrals is the best way to make a decent profit, so now is a great time to check that you’re still offering what your current clients need.  Refine your products, check they are clear in what they offer and that you are delivering it.  If your clients are getting what they are paying for they will a) stay b) recommend you.
  • Develop a plan for growth.  Do you want to scale your business in the next few years?  Use 2022 to start planning how.  In the meantime though coach your clients with the model you currently have with 100% commitment.  Ambition is important but so is staying focussed on the present at the same time because we can’t build on our current foundations of clients if we provide a poor service whilst developing bigger plans in the background.
  • If you’re working and developing a business in the background accept you’re going to have to be tired for a while and put in a lot of hours to get to where you want to be.  Your ambition may be to reach that perfect work life balance but the hard truth is that whilst you work to get your business to the point where you can work the 4 day week or work anywhere in the world you will actually have less ‘you’ time.  Take care of yourself to avoid burn out but if you start providing a rubbish service because your tired after work you won’t retain clients and struggle to build up the business. For now make sure what you offer to clients is realistic for what you can do with the time you have.  A smaller client base or smaller product offered really well is going to be better for your business than an all ‘singing all dancing but never quite reaches the standards you sell it as’ one.  That way you are less likely to be miserable and more likely to grow.  

I hope these are useful when you sit down and think about your plans for the next 12 months.  I know they are all things I’m considering as I do this personally.

You can sign up to receive more tips in 2022 here… MAILING LIST SIGN UP

Black Friday

Black Friday deals. A bit like the January sales, it’s only a bargain if you actually needed (or wanted it) it anyway.

Your fitness and diet regieme is a bit like that too.

A transformational plan is only transformational if it is aligned with your goals. Your goals are only really attainable if they genuinely suit your lifestyle and personality. By that I mean if you’re trying to lose weight because you think you should be a size 10, but really are pretty happy being a size 14 other than that nagging thing in your brain that tells you there’s such a thing as your ideal weight; then you’re likely to keep tripping at every hurdle, because not sticking to your plan is always going to become more appealing whenever your tempted.

A great offer on a training plan, a magical supplement, a plan everyone else is raving about is all well and good. But if it doesn’t actually suit you. If it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, or isn’t designed to get the results you actually want, it’s still not worth the money.

That doesn’t mean that plan, trainer, product is rubbish. There are lots of really great products out there that just wouldn’t suit me but I’d happily recommend to others.

Just like buying a dress that really doesn’t suit you in the sale because it’s 75% off isn’t a good deal, signing up for a diet or training plan when it’s cheap isn’t going to be successful unless it actually aligns with your life, goals and is designed to do what you actually want.

Just a little something to think about as the Black Friday / January sales start to hit the inboxes.