Need a nudge getting ready to go back to the gym?

Last week my friend launched a short online course to help group exercise instructors and participants feel good about the lifting of lockdown and the return to the gym / classes.

He’s a coach and trainer who knows Group Exercise and it’s demands well.

The course is free!

What you’ll get:

  • Jump Pyramids of Priority
  • Jump 4.2 Method
  • Access to Jump Facebook Group

To get involved and start now head here:

https://www.rickylong.com/offers/LfGPYkW2/checkout

This is perfect for you if you need a bit of a nudge to get you ready for the gyms opening again in April.

Easter Eggs

Obligatory Easter post about eating at Easter.

Eat all the Ester Eggs, and don’t feel guilty etc. etc.

But what if you do feel guilty? Even if you know you shouldn’t, sometimes your emotions can over rule your brain on matters such as food.

If that is the case it can take a long time and a lot of work on your mindset to be able to eat freely and not feel the emotions that most of us attach to certain foods, a few posts of blogs or your PT telling you not to feel guilty for eating lots of chocolate at Easter won’t necessarily help.

So if you know that you want the Eggs but also know you’ll likely feel some guilt afterwards think about rationing the chocolate you may have amassed. It doesn’t all need to be eaten today or this weekend and you might find you feel mentally better if you eat it in more controlled amounts over a longer time.

That’s not to say you have to do that or should feel guilty if you don’t. But in the movement to remove guilt associated from food (all a good thing) it can be easy to forget that emotions and habits can be engrained and difficult to just shake off or change. If that is the case a strategy to allow you to enjoy your Easter Eggs without the feelings of guilt after might work better for you than just saying f**k it – even if that’s what you feel like you should be able to say.

Calories Counting v Intuitive Eating

I’ve written previously about intuitive eating and how I feel like you cannot eat intuitively until you understand calorie tracking. Two ever so opposite end of the scale things but they kind of work together.

I get why people don’t necessarily want to track calories. I get that for some people it could get a bit obsessive. I get that you don’t just want to make food about numbers. I get that it’s time consuming and dull. I get that there’s so much more to life than how many calories you eat and constantly thinking about what you have left in your calorie bank.

But. But but but.

If you want to lose weight… or gain weight for that matter… you have to be eating the right amount of calories compared to how many calories you expend each day / each week.

Now you might be someone who is happy with their weight. If that’s the case you probably can just eat intuitively, because what you are eating right now is keeping you where you want to be. This post is not for you!

If you want to change your weight, up or down, that indicates that what you currently eat right now either provides you with too many (if you want to lose) or not enough (if you want to gain) calories. Before you say it, yes maybe you are that rare person who is struggling because of a condition and the reason is far more complex, but harsh truth – the majority of us are not that person, the majority of us just aren’t eating the right amount for our goals.

So if you aren’t eating the right number of calories right now you can’t eat intuitively. Because to do something intuitively requires knowledge of how to do it in the first place. At work, do you do tasks you’ve done many times before instinctively, without thought- looking at a problem and knowing the issue and solution before you’ve really even thought about it? Can you answer the question before it’s even been asked because you know what they’ll ask because it’s what everyone always asks? Could you do that on your first week of the job? Of course not. You learnt your job and over time through doing your actions became more instinctive, more confident.

Same with calories. You need to understand how much of the type of foods you eat is right for you to reach your goal. To do this you need to track. The more you learn about this as you track the less you need to rely on tracking, because you can learn to start reading you own body and hunger and getting used to the right kind of portion sizes for you and your goals.

So over time you can track less, maybe just checking in occasionally to check your still in the right zone, or using it as a refocus if you’ve found yourself going a bit off track. You don’t have to commit to a lifetime of strict tracking everything that passes your lips. But to get a handle on where you are at and work out where you need to be you do need to be aware of what you are really eating, and tracking is really the only way.

If you don’t want to track you don’t have to of course, but if you’re frustrated you aren’t reaching you goals and aren’t tracking you may want to reconsider because whether you track or eat intuitively calories do count.

Men should have a 6pm curfew

“mmm so hot nearly broke my dick looking at u xx”.

Just a random message from a stranger on Facebook Messenger the other day. I mean at least he put a couple of kisses at the end of it right? At least he didn’t actually send me a photo of his dick. But you know what if women kept every unsolicited photo of a stranger’s penis they had ever sent many of us would look like we had some kind of porn addiction to anyone who viewed our camera albums.

These kind of messages and photos get received so often most of the time women just delete them without comment. We haven’t engaged in conversation with the sender or indicated we enjoy receiving such messages, yet some men feel that it is their right to be able to expose themselves or send lewd messages to women they don’t know.

This attitude has been seen in multiple stories in the news, on Social Media and in discussions between friends in the last week. Women are used to be shouted at or commented at on busy streets, in the day, with other people around. The fact that men can do this and know that they are unlikely to be called out by those around them allows them to do it again and again with confidence and means that most women learn, at an early age, to brush these comments and incidents aside as if they are nothing.

All women know the dangers of walking at home alone at night, I only run at night with my friends and on well lit streets, we all text one another when we get home at night to confirm we are safe. We get taught at an early age about sticking to busy roads, staying alert, not leaving drinks unattended in bars. Women grow up essentially being conditioned to avoid attack yet at the same time are expected to brush off unwanted comments or attention because it’s just ‘a bit of fun’. The fact that men (strangers) have exposed themselves to me in a busy street whilst I was on my way to work, slapped my bum as they walked past, felt it ok to make comments about what they’d like to do to me or blatantly look down my top telling me they are doing so, and the fact that a couple of hours after the event they’d slipped my mind as they seem so normal shows that there are plenty of men out there that think that treating women like this is ok and that are confident they won’t suffer any consequences.

Suggesting that Sarah should not have walked home alone at night, when women routinely and obviously get harassed every day in plain sight with bystanders saying nothing, is insulting (to her, her family, women in general). Women face potential harassment and worse at all points of the day, whatever they are wearing, whether they do ‘all the right things’. Sarah did ‘all the right things’, she stuck to busy roads, phoned her partner, was wearing bright clothes. But again the people saying she shouldn’t have walked home at night are doing what so often happens when women get attacked or accosted. Blaming the woman for doing the wrong thing (i.e. not going out of their way to avoid getting attacked) rather than the attacker for attacking them. We should not dare live our life freely, unless we accept that in doing so we may be attacked.

Is it education that we need? I don’t know. Because it isn’t all men, of course it isn’t. Maybe men could do more at calling their mates out if they see them acting inappropriately, but actually, I know an awful lot of men that do call out inappropriate behaviour, who don’t just stand by. Stopping shaming or blaming women would help though, in the media, and in general perceptions throughout society. Women should be able to go places and wear what they want without being accused of making themselves open to attack. I really don’t like the socks and sliders look – does that mean I can use this as an excuse for attacking someone? Extreme? Not when you think how many people think a women in a revealing outfit was asking to be raped. Instead we need to focus on the people who attack women, not give them excuses but treat them for what they are , criminals. Beyond that we should take the every day harassment women just accept as ‘nothing’ more seriously, because if we take this more seriously it might be a start to changing people’s perceptions of how people think women should be treated.

And for the record, the woman in the news suggesting men should have a 6 pm curfew. I didn’t actually pay much attention to this story so don’t really know the background, but maybe, just maybe, she was making the point that women have a kind of curfew. Once it gets dark we need to be careful about going out alone, where we go, what we wear. It’s not a legal curfew or an official one, but one which we get taught to observe as soon as we are old enough to go out alone.

Female Fitness on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, so I thought a post focusing on female fitness would be appropriate.

With periods and child birth and the menopause amongst other things affecting a woman’s body over her lifetime, women face different challenges to men when it comes to training, fitness and weight gain / loss. Thankfully more fitness professionals are starting to use their knowledge on these factors to help women achieve better results. By tailoring training and diet around a female’s menstrual cycle for instance a PT can not only help their client improve their results but also feel better in themselves, more energetic and less like they are failing during those weeks where they just don’t have the energy to hit the big lifts.

One such coach and nutritionist is Chris Ward. I’ve known Chris for around four year now, and in that time he’s qualified as a nutrition coach and delved deep into female fitness. The podcast below discuses some of the struggles females can go through on a monthly basis, including the menstrual cycle, hormones and PCOS and is a great listen for any female looking to greater understand how these things can affect our training.

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-chris-ward-podcast/id1441709658?i=1000499610871

Me: The Running Edition

I miss the gym. For me the gym is what makes training. I know there are people that always loved home training and many more have found they love it too during the last twelve months but for me there is nothing that makes me work as hard as doing my workout in a different environment.

When I go to the gym I go though the process of getting gym kit on, putting trainers on, walking to the gym, putting my stuff in a locker. That process mentally puts me in the mindset that I’m about to train and helps me get moving. It’s an environment where training is the only option whilst there. When I’m at home I get distracted, I see where I need to dust or hover and my workouts are never as intense. I think that’s why I like running outdoors, it again requires leaving the house and being outside with a purpose, to move, to get from A to B.

That’s why I’ve struggled with training in lockdown. The not feeling the same as I would training in a gym means I don’t feel the same motivation. The training because I feel I need to when I don’t really want to is not something I want. But, as I said previously, I want to get moving more again, for my own fitness, some weight loss and because quite frankly I’m stiff as a board. So I’ve been running lots more. As running is one of the only forms of exercise I really enjoy I can still easily do that seemed the best bet.

This month so far I’ve run around 47 miles. I only need to do another 9 to hit my February virtual running challenge and I’m making a decent dent into the Land End to John O Groats challenge too. One of the best things about running outdoors means I can also run with someone and Hollie has been my running buddie. A bundle on energy and knowing that I haven’t been feeling great about my fitness she’s been a great motivator and encouragement and really made me feel better about my running. That I think is the key at the moment, finding the thing that you want to do and having the accountability, be it to a challenge or a person (or both) to keep you going.

Here’s a little video of our 9 mile run this week which shows why I’ve enjoyed my runs!

Hollie’s video of our 9 mile run (that I thought was 6 miles!)

Me. The Update

So I planned my week out, what I wanted to eat and what training I wanted to do.

Then I got sick and Thursday / Friday were a write off, where I just about managed to get through work . That put my plans out of sync a bit – meant missing a couple runs and having a couple of evenings where I couldn’t be bothered to cook and so got food in which meant my calories were higher across the week than I planned.

But I woke up today feeling better and so went for a 10km run and plan to run the same distance tomorrow. That will keep me on track for my running challenge (both 52 miles in Feb and the 2021 Lands End to John On Groats challenge). If I manage that I’ll view that as a positive end to the week.

I think the best way to get back into your training when you’ve lost your way a bit is to make small changes. I’ve trained when I could this week so that’s a good start. I haven’t hit a calorie deficit but nor did I end up in a surplus.

My main focuses for the coming week are to drink more water – as this is a habit I used to have ingrained in me but have been poor at recently and trying to hit 20k steps per day, again something I used to do daily without thinking but Lockdown has made harder.

Did you think it would last this long?

Last year when all this started did any of us really think that almost a year later we’d still be in lockdown.

When gyms closed in March didn’t most of us assume that we wouldn’t be able to train in the gym for a few weeks then we’d all just go back to our normal training regimes. People worried that they’d lose fitness in those few weeks.

Of course what then followed was that we have all got used to sometimes having access to a gym, but mainly not having access to a gym. Sometimes being able to teach or attend classes but more often than not not being able to.

Some people have have learnt to love home workouts. Others have not. Most of us do now accept that we are unlikely to be able to go back to how we used to train for some time yet. So what does that mean for those of us that do not really enjoy working out at home? I think it means trying new things, trying a variety of different things until we find some kind of routine that we do enjoy.

It perhaps also means accepting that our body, our fitness might be different for a while. Because above all, your training should be enjoyable, and making yourself do something because you should rarely is that. So potentially for a while you won’t be where you were at the start of 2020. Of course I’m not saying just don’t train, it has been proven that being healthy can be beneficial if you get Covid, not to mention the many other benefits training and eating well bring. But you can also not beat yourself up for things being different and doing what you can do right now.

2021 has begun

For any 2020 fans who thought the spin off 2021 might be more uplifting series one has quickly dispelled the idea.

Like the kid that copies the other kids homework returning character BoJo announced a third National Lockdown in England hours after Nicola announced her Lockdown. Nick Hancock (masquerading as his less competent twin Matt Hancock) has continued to waffle on incoherently, yet to be honest, we all much prefer it when he does the daily briefings because even the current government wouldn’t risk leaving the really drastic announcements to him.

Despite lots of evidence that being healthy helps massively in recovering if you do catch Corona authorities appear to be actively discouraging people from doing that thing that aids good health – you know, that exercise thing. This is yet another anomaly in the messages the Government provided throughout the 2020 series and the writers seem intent on continuing throughout 2021.

Vaccines continue to be hailed as the saviour of this series, although many avid watchers have questioned whether the ambitious mass vaccination plans announced can be Implemented without a hitch. Given the reputation for bumbling their way through pandemics many fans will not be surprised if there is mass chaos in coming series.

Meanwhile across the pond in the country formerly known as Trump Land white people stormed the Capitol and weren’t shot. Whereas the the outgoing president condemned the BLM protests as riots, he praised these people as protestors and he finally got banned from Twitter for inciting violence as leaders across the land condemned him.

We are all just hoping that series 1 of 2021 picks up a bit and becomes a little less doom and gloom, because quite frankly, none of us can stand the breaking news phone beeps anymore, our nerves are shot.

2020 – A Disappointing Ending

And so the final series of 2020 comes to an end. As predicted the writers have confirmed that a spin off show 2021 will start tomorrow following much the same premise and picking up where all the main characters left off in 2020, although it’s been confirmed that Dominic Cummings won’t be returning due to ‘creative differences’ with the Directors.

Viewers were highly critical of the ending of series 12 which saw Christmas cancelled last minute and the majority of the country being placed in Tier 4 (the new name for Lockdown 3). Even the news that another vaccine had been approved failed to provide hope to many, who having seen the Government’s Track and Trace system in action suspect that Hancock and co. couldn’t organise a single vaccination in a doctors surgery let alone the mass vaccination of a whole nation at speed.

We await to see if viewing figures will be as high for 2021 or if the public are tired of the same old plotlines being used again and again, you highlight suspect people will start turning of in droves if the writers don’t pull something out of the bag.

In other news you can now buy the theme tune to 2020 – Hands Face Space – on Itunes, although it isn’t expecting to reach very high in the charts. Can’t think why.