Fitness, Gym, Mindset, Uncategorized

My mind is telling me no…But my body..

Today I was talking with someone close to me about the concept of clearing your mind.

It is so rare for me, that my mind is not thinking about 4 or 5 things at once. My mind races from one thought to the next, making plans, trying to work out times to do things, thinking ideas, planning meals and generally not 100% focusing on the one thing I am trying to do at that time. I have to assume I am not the only one who experiences this!

This is why I love training. 

Going to the gym and lifting is one of the few times I am not concentrating on my thoughts, I’m listening to my body. I am feeling it all. The tight feeling in my muscles, the heart pounding in my chest, the burn and fatigue. 

Don’t get me wrong, as I approach the squat rack with my bar stacked with a weight that leaves me with a lingering feeling of apprehension, my mind is inoverdrive. The moment I feel the weight bearing down on my shoulders, my mind is focused. Focused on nothing but the feeling of tension in my muscles. The alignment of my back, hips and knees. I can feel my core tighten to stabilise my body. Then the moment I finish my set, I realise for those moments my mind was clear. Uncomplicated clarity. Peace.

This feeling is so comforting to me. Don’t get me wrong it’s something I built up. Almost like meditating, the first time I tried to meditate…. I’m listening to my mind go from focusing on my breathing…to wondering if I put the laundry on! 

For me weight training is just as much about challenging your brain to pushing past what is tells you that your body is not capable of. I find that this then translates in to other areas of life.

My brain tries to tell me… “you can’t lift that!”.. I prove it wrong.

If that’s the case, I wonder what else I can do?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not capable…not even you!

Taylor @tgm_fitness_elite

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Fitness

Finding “The One” – Gym Buddy Pro’s and Con’s

How often have we heard or may be even said ourselves “I’d go to the gym if I had someone to go with”. Finding the perfect gym buddy can be just as hard as finding Mr Right! But how important is it to have a gym buddy. I have both trained solo and with regular gym buddies. So here is my list of pro’s and con’s.

Pro’s

  • Motivation. Having a gym buddy can give you the motivation you need to kick start your fitness. Finding a fitness friend can give you that added push to get your but into that aerobics class when you are just not feeling it.
  • Accountability. Your gym buddy can make you accountable. It’s harder to blow off the gym if you know your friend is there waiting for you! You won’t just be making excuses to yourself, your gym buddy will also be making you accountable for your choices.
  • Healthy competition. There is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. Pushing each other that little bit harder each time can help you to fulfil your own potential.
  • Form. Your gym buddy can also be there to check your form. When I say form I mean the way in which you perform an exercise. This can include posture, the speed and force in which you execute the exercise, spine alignment and footing. Poor form can mean not isolating the correct muscles you want to exercise during the movement and importantly can result in injury.
  • Spotting. There is nothing fun about a dumbbell to the face or face planting the mirror falling forward when squatting. Luckily having a gym buddy there can minimise the risk of you hurting yourself or getting in to a sticky situation when you are completing difficult movements or using heavy weights.
  • Encouragement. That’s an easier one. Having your own personal cheerleader when you are working hard can push, motivate and help you keep a positive mental attitude when your energy and drive is beginning to falter.
  • Support. Gym buddies can be a great source of support in and outside of the gym. If you are having a hard time with progress, form and motivation, a gym buddy can be there to keep you going and someone to relate too and confide in.
  • Fresh ideas. For me one of the best part of having a gym buddy is having the opportunity to share new ideas with someone. From new routines, exercises and recipes to protein powders, bloggers, fitness inspiration and places to get new gym wear. Keeping it fresh can keep it fun!

But having a gym buddy can also have its downfalls.

Con’s

  • Dependency. It can become easy to grow dependant on your gym buddy. You may rely on them and not yourself for motivation. This can then potentially cause setbacks if for some reason your gym buddy can’t come to the gym. It is important to keep focused on why you want this and ensure you keep that motivation with or without your gym buddy.
  • Distraction. It can be very easy to become distracted by a gym buddy when working out. Conversation can flow and your focus can wane. Talks of the nightmare incident at work and plans for the weekend can take precedence and sometimes steer you off track.
  • Unhealthy comparisons. Sometimes it can be easy to fall into the trap of negatively comparing yourself to your gym buddy. Your gym buddy may be seeing quicker progress or may be lifting heavier than you. It can be hard to remember that everyone is different. Your gym buddy may have different nutrition, a more physically demanding job, faster metabolism, completely different body composition and structure. Competition can be helpful in training but remember this journey is about you and you only.
  • Different motivations and goals. Like I said previously, finding the perfect gym buddy is like finding Mr Right or Mrs Right! If you want completely different things it just isn’t going to work. For example if you are training to see muscle tone or increase strength and your gym buddy is training solely for marathon. Your training plan will be quite different and this can make it difficult to train together.
  • Commitment. For me this is a clincher. Do you and your gym buddy have the same levels of commitment? If you are ready to dedicate yourself and work as hard as you can, training with someone who is joining the gym for a bit of fun and for a light hobby can have a negative impact on potentially both your motivation and progress. On the flip side, if you are going to the gym for a little you time and some fun, a hard core gym buddy may be too full on and put you off training all together!

If you want to find a gym buddy, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If you find someone who shares the same interests, make it known. Pretty much all of the fitness fanatics I know love to share tips and ideas with other people and are always happy to help!

I personally like the best of both worlds. I try to switch it up. I train with my mother, with a PT, with my partner and by myself. I learn and take something away with me from all of these sessions. Inspiration, new techniques, motivation and confidence.

In the beginning I was reluctant to train by myself. I was self-conscious and wasn’t sure about what I was doing. My gym buddies helped me grow in confidence but I soon learned that I couldn’t always rely on only training when my gym buddies where available! I decided to try going by solo now and again. Going by myself made my confidence grow tenfold. I no longer cared if anyone was watching or if the girl next to me had a flatter tummy or if someone else in the gym was better than me because it didn’t matter. They may be stronger than me, more muscular or toned but no one knows the battles it takes for you to be there in the gym..apart from you.

That takes real strength.

Me

Taylor @tgmfitnesselite

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Fitness, Mindset, Nutrition

Progress

Progress has always been a tricky one for me. I haven’t personally ever been much overweight, so weighing myself weekly is a little futile, as face it, we are trying to be healthier and fitter but we want to see aesthetic results too! In the first few months I saw such a dramatic difference as I lost body fat and yes there were changes on the scales. The changes from there admittedly got slower and required fine tuning of diet and changes in programmes but these are what separate you from a body you are okay with and the body you really want.

Be realistic with what you want your body to look like. This is something that took me a little longer to completely get my head around. Most of us will have someone in mind when we think of how we want our bikini bodies to look. But you will never look like them because you are you! For example I can strive for body out of a Victoria Secrets catalogue but I am an A cup! Working on my abs will not give me bigger boobs. So that will never happen! If you have curvy hips, you can tone that ass, work on those legs and abs, but your pelvis is not going to shrink. And for the fellas getting shredded isn’t going to make you taller. Be realistic! Focus on your body! It’s yours and it is incredible!

Take measurements. When you start a new programme your body will change. For example, if you start lifting weights, you are going to start shredding fat and building muscle. And ladies do not be afraid to lift weights! You will not get bulky! Muscle burns Fat! Building some muscle may mean your actual mass may not change a great deal. You may feel disheartened. Do not despair. Take measurements, as many as you can. Don’t just monitor your weight, get a tape measure out and measure as much as you can, upper arms, waist, hips and thighs and take note of your dress size!

Photos have been an essential part in the monitoring of my progress and I would say it is a must for anyone who wants to see a physical change in their body. I know it can be hard to take photos of yourself in your underwear. To see areas of your body you aren’t happy with and are insecure about. But rest assured, as you will look back at that photo as a start of an amazing journey and it will highlight how far you have come. So take it. Even if you don’t look at it straight after trust me you will be grateful you took it. Then take photos at regular intervals from as many angles as possible. If you have a partner, friend or family member who can take the photos, even better as you’re more likely to get a better full length photo. To start with, for the first 8 weeks I took the photos weekly. Then after every 3-4 weeks as progress can be slower. But it is still progress and those time you are feeling you aren’t getting anywhere you can look back at these and compare. You can physically see with your own eyes the progress you have made.

You are what you eat. A good 80% of the body battle is nutrition. If you are consistently over eating and eating rubbish you will not see the progress you want. On the flip side of that, if you are undereating and not fuelling your body correctly you will not have the energy or nutrients to work out in the way that will get you the body you want. When it comes to nutrition, everyone is different! There is not one diet for all! I am not a nutritionist, just speaking from personal experience and observation. For example I work really well on a slightly higher intake of good fats (e.g. nuts and avocado) but high sugar like too much fruit and carbs like pasta make me put on fat. I don’t personally count calories. That won’t necessarily work for everyone for example if you are over eating and are overweight, you may need to count calories in order to reduce them. I do however monitor what I eat, I make sure I am just conscious of what I am putting in my body. We can all fall in to the trap of mindlessly stuffing in food whilst watching TV for example. So don’t bother with the faddy juice diets and ridiculous 28 day detox teas. Change your life style. Change your nutrition. Starting a diet implies no longevity. Invest in your body, Listen to it. One book that was recommended to me which really helped me start to understand my own nutrition was a book by Paul Chek called “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!”. Amazing holistic book that has it all and also really acknowledges, how one diet does not fit all. Fantastic guidance on where to start.

When it comes to progress, you need to be conscious. You need to keep track of the changes and celebrate the achievements. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own body and if you aren’t. You don’t have to settle. You can move forward. You can progress.

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Fitness, Mindset

New Goals. New Programme.

New Programme Day!

So yesterday I started a new programme from my PT. We had just finished a phase to build some strength to help us in our next phase, hypertrophy training (muscle building). I both love and hate getting a new programme.

Getting a new programme for me always feels like a huge step towards my goal. Having a plan and time frame makes a dream a reality. Remember “a goal without a plan is just a wish”.

It’s new and after 6+ weeks on a programme it is always fun to change it up. You can get stuck in the comfort zone, just going through the motions. A new programme always creates enthusiasm and excitement. But this is always where the love/hate come in. It’s a change and sometimes it can bring about a little uncertainty. It takes you out of your comfort zone and that’s where change and growth takes place. You start new exercises and have to practice new techniques and form. Sometimes it’s the same exercise but different amount of reps, I then have to figure out what weight to start on. But this shock to the muscle and mind is always just what I need. Hitting the same muscles in a different way, seeing changes and progress. This is what will keep my moving. Moving towards my goals.

My Goals.

My goals have changed and evolved since I started. When I started I just wanted to lose some fat. Then I wanted to tone up and now my goals are something I never thought it would be. To build some muscle. These are my overall body goals but I have goals in between that will contribute to my overall goal. This helps build motivation, confidence and drive. When I started I couldn’t do 10 full push ups and I couldn’t pull up my own body weight. That is where I started.

And it doesn’t matter what your goals are. If it is to be able to run 5 minutes without stopping or deadlift 200kg. If it’s your goal, own it. Don’t let anyone belittle it or take it away from you. So many people will want to try and take this from you, whether it’s from jealously, misunderstanding or fear. But don’t let them.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger has said “ignore the naysayers!”.

This is your journey. Your choices. If you want it. Make a plan and go get it.

I found this idea both nerve racking and completely empowering. I can do and achieve anything I want. As can you! Do it. Go get it. Own it!

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