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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Nutrition

The “All-Inclusive” Battle

I eat very regular meals, probably about 4 smaller meals a day with snacks or a protein shake etc in between. So I would say I am pretty in tune with my nutrition. It’s taken time and trial and error to work out what my body works on best. But when we go on holiday, lets face it, temptation everywhere. That’s when the battle commenced. The battle between whether I try to eat healthy and continue my perfect healthy balance or to over indulge on the resorts all-inclusive delights.

I have recently come back from an amazing all-inclusive holiday in beautiful Egypt. I had been pretty dedicated to my meal prep leading up to the holiday so I could feel fabulous in my bikini. The first morning we came down to the main restaurant on the resort for breakfast….I knew I was in trouble! There were pancakes, pastries, sausages, cheeses there was even cakes. Seriously this resort served deserts with every meal! I let loose. Don’t get me wrong, my portion sizes weren’t too bad but the content of my first meal consisted of carb on carb! For me as I have mentioned in a previous post, my body reacts better with protein and good fats so my body was in for a shock when I had eaten pancakes, toast and a doughnut before 9am!

Needless to say by the second day I was feeling less of a bikini babe and more like a bloated beach ball! But as we have probably said to ourselves before “don’t worry your on holiday!”. What this holiday had reminded me is that it okay to have a little bit of what you fancy. In fact it’s a part of eating a balanced diet. We pretty much all know that. But it also highlighted how food can dramatically effect how you feel. I felt bloated, sluggish and my skin came out in blemishes. My body just isn’t built to work on processed sugar and tonnes of pasta.

It’s about moderation, but what is a moderate portion? I like to play by the 80/20 rule. When I say rule it’s not a “diet fad”, it’s a lifestyle. Eat good healthy nutritious food 80% of the time and eat little bit of naughtiness 20% of the time. So may be once a week I will have a meal that I wouldn’t normally eat like a couple of slices of pizza. And note I said slices and not a whole pizza. Moderation. Some people swear by the 90/10 rule but I feel unless you are training for competition etc it’s not entirely necessary as long as when you have the naughtiness, it’s not a total binge.

I’ve seen it printed on t-shirts and it’s true, You can’t outrun a bad diet! If you are eating well all week but drinking sugar filled fizzy drinks daily, then eat a couple of take-aways after a few pints at the weekend, you simply won’t wont see the same results. You are only kidding yourself. Nutrition is 80% of the battle but will not work on its own. But nutrition and exercise come hand in hand. As does exercise and mindset. They work together.

I think the thing that I struggled with most at the beginning is my relationship with food. And I do still to an extent struggle. Food is fuel….but I can’t help but love food! So my biggest worry was that eating healthy was going to be boring and lacking flavour and this would lead me to the vending machines at work seeking sugary snacks. I’m the kind of person that if I have my own way would cover everything I ate in melted cheese and crispy bacon! But nutrition doesn’t have to be boring! Seasoning, cooking food in different ways, herbs, discovering new alternatives. There are so many ways to spice up your meals so to speak.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean being hungry all the time or eating boring food. Be inquisitive, experiment, be conscious of what you’re eating. Invest in yourself and your body. Why wouldn’t you want to fuel your body and help it work to the best of its ability? It is the only one you have in this lifetime, it’s yours and you live in it. Look after your body because your body is incredible and because you deserve to feel good. Don’t settle for feeling okay. Feel great.

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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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Mindset

Where I Found Strength

Yesterday was one of those days. Non-stop. I had an early start for work, a doctor’s appointment, a stop at the super market, a delayed train home and prepped meals for the week then it was time for the Gym. Me and my partner walked as it was pretty warm and decided to hit legs! My favourite….

It was pretty packed in the gym so we decided to switch it up and do things in a different order. We did some work on quads and hamstring then moved over to the linear leg press. It was already stacked with an unbelievable amount of weight. My partner decided we should keep most of it on. Instantly in the back of my mind I could hear “you can’t do that!”, “There is no way”, “your legs are too tired”. I did two reps and stopped. Exasperated and frustrated, I put my head back against the rest and closed my eyes for a second. “I can’t do it”. I then challenged my boyfriend to try (we can be a bit competitive sometimes and leg day is the only day I can pretty much keep up with him!). He then pumped out 12 reps with what seemed little effort. I could feel my mood dipping and I was beginning to feel tearful. I stripped some weight off the machine and decided to start again. “I don’t think I can do this” “you’ve had a long day, you’re tired” is all I could hear chanting repeatedly in my mind. I did 6 reps and had to stop again. My boyfriend, tried to console me and reassure me I could do this but I didn’t want to hear it. I sat there deep in thought for a moment then walked to the gym toilets and sat on a stool. I was so mad at myself! It was then I had to tell myself. “You can do this! There is no reason you can’t”. This is what will separate me from the rest. This moment here. Not giving up. Even when I can think of plenty of reasons to go home. “I’m not in the right frame of mind”, “I’m tired”, “I can try again tomorrow”. I am here now and I want this. I needed to be stronger than my excuses. I came out stacked the weight back on cracked out 12 reps. My boyfriend was shocked and asking what had changed and I explained I’m not going to let my mind win!

This is where I found strength.

So yes, I have been there. At the gym, when you have 5 more minutes left of cardio or 1 more set of squats. This is where I found strength. This is where you can find it too. Pushing passed the pain. Not the kind of pain when you are going to injure yourself but the burn of muscle fatigue, when your heart is pounding in your ears and you are sweating in places you didn’t think you could sweat! This is where your mind will stop long before your body. Your mind will tell you that you are done, that you can’t do any more, that it hurts too much. That is your mind. Not your body. Your body will keep going much longer. When you get off the treadmill when you think “have nothing left”. You can still walk can’t you? You still make it home, you walk to the bathroom and stand in the shower. Your body is still going. Your mind is the one that stopped.

“Don’t stop when it hurts, stop when you are done.”

I have seen that quote thrown around quite a few times and I sometimes repeat it in my mind when I am working out. That is strength not stopping when it hurts, but when you are done. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t running as far as the girl next to you on the treadmill, or if you aren’t lifting the heaviest dumbbell. If you push passed that barrier, your barrier, that is strength. Those 3 reps you did after you thought you were done, Strength. Running 30 seconds longer than you told yourself you could, strength. Do not doubt yourself! I didn’t always have this mentality. For me, it just clicked and made sense.

Strength is body and mind.

You are still here. Those times before when you thought you couldn’t cope. You did. You are still here. Reading this. You are winning! If you fell off the bandwagon (skipped a week at the gym or a had a piece of cake)  but still want it.. you are still winning.

You can jump off the bandwagon now and again, as long as you don’t forget where you parked it!

Winning, succeeding isn’t an end goal it’s a mentality. It’s carrying on when you think you’re ready to quit.

You have not failed and you have not quit.

 

 

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Mindset

I’m not going to settle for settling..

I have started this blog not at the very beginning of my journey nor at the end. It’s not even one single journey. It’s several. Mind, body, fitness, nutrition and even my career.

About 14 months ago I started making massive changes to my lifestyle and that is the best way to describe it. I didn’t start a juice diet or a 6 week “get your bikini body”. Starting a diet implies there is no longevity. I wanted more. I decided to change my life. I decided I deserved better. My mind and body deserved better. Better than not being able to achieve its full potential, better than feeding it food that makes it ill and not function efficiently.

My biggest change was time. I regularly used time as an excuse. I didn’t have enough of it. The biggest change was making time. Easy as that. I made time. No excuses. I made time in the morning to prepare a full breakfast, sort out my shakes and snacks. I made time on a Sunday afternoon to prep weekly healthy and balanced meals. I made time in the evenings to work out and lift. Even if some evenings I only had half an hour, I made sure I used that 30 minutes. For me, the way I decided if I had time, was if I had time to watch TV or procrastinate by flicking through social media or a magazine….. there was time to go to the gym. There are 24/7 gyms everywhere now and if not, all you need is some space in a living room or outside. I had no excuse. The health food industry is at an all-time high. Healthy foods, organic produce, grass fed meats are far more readily available than they have ever been. There is information everywhere on net, research, forums, blogs and social media with great knowledge articles and recipe ideas. Just be conscious of what you are eating, be curious, look at what’s in the ingredients.

As much as I work my body, I like to work on my mind too. Sounds cliché but it’s true. Like I said in my previous blog, a massive amount of the battle is mind-set. Some of my biggest limitations are in my mind. I see a therapist once a week. Yep I really do. Not because there something in particular in my recent years has caused me trauma but because I was no longer prepared to settle for feeling just “okay”.

I was settling. I accepted my body was all it could be and mentally this is just how I was supposed to feel. Physically I accepted feeling sluggish and bloated. I am no longer settling for just that. My body is capable of much more. I am capable of feeling physically and mentally more energetic and alert. I capable of being happier and I am capable of having a career of my choice.

So are you! You do not have to settle!

There are no limitations apart from the ones you set yourself!

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Mindset

The Beginning

Some of the hardest work you will do in the gym will be in your mind. Some of the biggest battles I have had, in and outside of the gym, has been with mind-set. This includes taking the leap to get started. “I don’t know where to start?” “I’m not sure what I am doing”. All of the biggest fitness professionals and athletes in the world at some point, didn’t know what they were doing. What separate them is mind-set and dedication. Take that leap.

Walking into the gym for the first time. Signing up for your first yoga class. Think of it this way. Doing that, that small step. Stepping forward to say you are ready, puts you, mentally, amongst the elite, the conscious and the willing. This is the step you will look back at as the beginning of it all. How exciting is that! This thing you are doing now. Could be the thing you look back at and say “that’s where it all started!”. So why wait? Why tomorrow? Why not now?

What small thing can you do today that can help your “tomorrow”? Choosing a water at lunch instead of a cola. Walking home instead of the bus. Joining the local gym. Or reading up on part time courses you can take to help you in your desired career. Watching a youtube clip on a new exercise on your commute home. Calf raises at the bus stop!

So I’ll leave you with this thought.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

I doesn’t have to be “I wish” or “I hope”. It can be “I will” and “I am”.

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