Mindset, Uncategorized

Change

Change.

Verb- “to make or become different”

Noun- “an act or process through which something becomes different.”

The last few months have been an absolute whirlwind of change, growth and  learning. Change is something that I have always thought I had embraced. It was only until recently that I discovered that for me, change in my life has generally been a negative. Something that I have not chosen, or I should say, has generally been chosen for me. The changes I have made have been adaptations I have had to make. The recent changes in my life have been choices. Choices that take courage, confidence and strength. Change is something that happens when you are not ready to settle any more. When you have decided you deserve more, that you want more in any aspect of your life. Real change happens when you are ready to go get it.

We seem to live in a state of wanting, hoping and wondering but not actually doing. I hear people talk about their goals, as if they are dreams and are unobtainable. They talk about what they “wanted” to do with there life or what they “wanted” to be, in the past tense. As if all possibility is gone. As if this is unachievable. Most of us naturally seek consistency, stability, sometimes even in an environment that is detrimental to us purely because it is the known. Change can be scary. Change means something is uncertain. As soon as you realise that nothing is set in stone, nothing is certain, anything can happen. Change takes place. Change means things can be different.

One way to commit to change it to set goals. To make steps towards those goals at any chance you are able to. Any steps count, whether it’s a leap or a baby step. It is better than standing still or even going backwards! Every goal is important. Big or Small. To be fair, “size” of the goal doesn’t matter because it is yours. If you own it and it’s yours, it is important. Whether your goal is to become a primary school teacher, a football coach, Mr Olympia, to generally eat healthier, to be able to walk up the stairs with out being out of breath or to loose 5 lbs. These are all important and all more than achievable, if you make the changes.

Making a change means learning to love yourself. Don’t apologise for loving you. Make you a priority, look after yourself. Eat well, and move. One saying I have heard for before which I always follow is “Don’t diet and exercise, eat and train”. You are important. Don’t settle for less than you want or deserve. Have some faith in yourself, don’t sell yourself short. You have something unique to offer the world.

We have 24 hours in a day, (although some days, I have to admit I would love to have a couple more) Have you done something today that will help you achieve your goal? Don’t get me wrong there have been days I have sat in bed watching Star Wars in my PJ’s! But there are still small changes you can make in that day that you can be thankful for tomorrow. What changes can you make right now to move you in the direct you want. Stop hoping and start doing.

If You Change Nothing…

Nothing Will Change.

 

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Taylor @tgmfitnesselite

 

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Gym, Mindset, Nutrition

The New Year Start’s Now!

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“New Year. New Me”. How often have we heard that phrase or have even said it ourselves? Then new year’s day, hung over, we plough our way through the left over Christmas cheese board and the box of Quality Street we vowed to throw out. Then we are left feeling guilty that we have “failed” on day 1! I have done this time after time. It is so easy to punish ourselves! But if that was a friend would you say the same thing to them as you have just said to yourself? Don’t set yourself up for failure, prepare yourself to succeed! Here are some of my tips for a new start!

Start now. Why start the 1st of January? A lifestyle change doesn’t have to take place on a special day, it happens on the day you are ready. I made my changes on a random Sunday in June! Don’t wait for tomorrow. Make a change today and mark that day somewhere you can see it, make it special, in a diary or calendar. That will be the day you can look back on as the day your life started to change.

Don’t give up everything in one go! So it’s the start of a new year. You have decided to give up smoking, drinking and chocolate, you’ve started a diet and you’ve joined a gym. Some people try to do too much in one go and it can be overwhelming on the body and mind! Pick 1 or 2 things to start with and add in things gradually. It can be a couple of simple changes! Cutting out the crisps at lunch and opting for a bottle of water instead of cola. Starting the gym doesn’t have to be five, hour and a half sessions a week. You could start by fitting in three 40 minute sessions a week. Don’t overdo it; don’t get me wrong work hard, but gradually build it up the frequency, intensity, duration and types of exercise you do.

Don’t beat yourself up. It can be so easy sometimes to punish and beat yourself up for eating a piece of chocolate or missing a gym session. Don’t panic! All is not lost. So what ? you had a few squares of the Galaxy bar you got for Christmas just don’t eat the entire bar. Okay so you missed the gym last night, try and find some time to fit in a session in the morning or do some training at home, walk instead of catching the bus to work. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Be conscious of what you are eating. When I say be conscious, I don’t mean self-conscious, I mean conscious and aware of what you are eating and the portion sizes of what you are eating.  A popular method and one of the most useful tools that I use to understand my portions sizes is my hand. And bear in mind this is just for guidance. I think of my meal in 4 basic areas, Protein, carbs, Veg/fruit (carbs) and fats. Then the sizes equate to areas of my hand e.g. protein should be roughly palm size, your vegetable portion should be fist size or 2 fists for something like spinach or kale. A cupped hand is the amount of complex carb (rice) and a thumb size of fat, like cheese or butter. Obviously this will vary depending on exercise goals and even your gender (e.g. men may double these portion sizes). So keep this in mind when making meals and if you have had  a carb heavy breakfast (oats) you would bear this in mind when snacking and may be chose something higher in protein for snack. It’s all about balance.

Set realistic goals and set time frames. As I have said in one of my previous blog post New Goals. New Programme “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. Set clear, realistic and measurable targets and set a time frame to achieve it. Setting “I want to be fitter” as a goal, isn’t measurable, I want to be able to run for 10 minutes without having to stop is clearer and there is a clear marker for achievement. “I want to lose weight”, do you want to lose fat? How much? Inches around your waist? Dress sizes? Make sure it is clear. Take photos, take measurements, keep track of the weights you are lifting or the times you are running etc, so you can see what you have achieved. And celebrate it.

P & P. Prep and Plan. This is key in achieving goals. Prepare your snacks and meals in advance. There are loads of ways you can do this, some people like to prepare meals in bulk and prepare 4-5 days’ worth of meals in one go, some people like to get up early and cook there meals for the day fresh that morning. Another good tip is keeping you gym gear ready to go. I keep spare gym gear in a bag on standby. I have mentioned before that finding a clean sports bra and a matching pair of socks after a long day at work can sometimes be enough to put me off going to the gym all together. It sounds dramatic but it’s true. Keep things ready to avoid hesitation when you need to get up and go. Also plan the days you are going to the gym or work out, be realistic when you can fit it in. If you want to go 3 times a week, pick 3 times you can go and book these in as solid plans. Try to think a head, obviously thing come up and sometimes you have to be flexible but see if there are any other times you can fit it in.

Be you! Every journey will be different and be proud of yours! Don’t strive to look like someone else, strive to look like you. Be proud. If you want to, strive to be a stronger you, a leaner you or whatever your goal is but importantly strive to be you. Own your goals! Stand by them and when you meet them (because you can and you will) Celebrate achievements! Big or small.

So, this New Year’s, try something new, break the mould on the traditional punishment of New Year’s resolutions. Make this Your Year! Your Year of happiness and achievement.
Don’t set yourself up for failure, prepare yourself to succeed!

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Taylor @tgmfitnesselite

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Mindset

Going AWOL

Currently my life is consisting of early starts, work, study, gym, nutrition, sleep… Repeat.

I am all about preparation. But sometimes life just doesn’t work like that. I am currently studying for a Level 2 in Instructing Gym Based Exercise which I have had to try and squeeze it into my already compact and well organised schedule. This, complete with life throwing me a curve ball, pulled the rug from under me. I have always been a big believer in “making time” and always will be, but finding an extra 15 hours on top of my normal schedule to study, proved pretty stressful! I had my perfect little routine and adding this… just blew it to pieces! I didn’t know where to start.
First I panicked.
Then I wanted to give up.
Then wanting to give up made me mad because I never quit.
Then wanting to get it right made me scared. Scared to fail. This was all massively overwhelming.

I have had to reorganise. Form a plan. Because if there is one thing I have learnt, feeling stressing out and worrying, actually doesn’t solve the problem. Only doing something about it will. So I had to put something in place. I have had to make a list of my priorities. What is essential for me to do this week? How long do I need to do it? What can take a temporary step back? What can I do to make things easier for myself?

So this evening I prepped a weeks worth of lunches in bulk, bought healthy snacks and a couple of healthy ready meals ( well, as healthy as they can be, they are ready meals after all) to have on standby. I sorted out my schedule for the week. Got my shakes and other suppliments ready and made time to study.

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For me putting this all in place was essential. I can’t function when I’m stressed and the only time I feel really stressed is when I feel helpless. So I have to help myself. This last couple of weeks have been testing. Balancing everything and wanting to succeed, the one thing I had to remind myself during this journey is that it’s okay to fail.

As adults, we seem to be so scared to fail. Where did this fear come from? We make excuses not to pursue the things we love because of a fear of failure. One example that highlighted this to me was whilst listening to a stream by Morelli Jr. He was talking about the resilience and perseverance of children. As babies, we learn to crawl and walk. We trip, we fall. When you first learnt to stand you didn’t get it right first time but this didn’t deter you. You kept going. It may have taken you say, 70+ attempts to try and stand unaided for the first time. But you persevered. As children we keep trying. Then, as adults, if we can’t get right after a few attempts, for example we slip up on the diet, we miss a gym session, we get an answer wrong on an exam, we didn’t get a job we applied for, we then believe we have failed. We give up.

Life is about learning. Learning doesn’t mean having all the right answers. It’s about getting it wrong and discovering the answers for your self.  Learning what works for you.

The only true failure, is giving up.

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Taylor @tgmfitnesselite

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Mindset

You Can Have It If You Want It- Making Choices.

You can have or be anything you want in this world.

You just have to be prepared to sacrifice in order to have it.

It sounds dramatic but it’s true. When I say sacrifice I don’t mean sacrificing a small goat under a full moon. I mean you have to be prepared to make space in your life in order to have or achieve something you really want. For example, if you decided right now that you want to be a doctor, you could do it! But you would have to sacrifice money, may be down size where you are living, cut the holidays abroad and pay tuition fees. You would have to sacrifice time, in lectures, 7 years studying and may be precious time with the family. But you could have it. If you wanted it. This applies to fitness and weight loss.

If you want to lose weight, be physically fit, tone up or build muscle. You have to make a choice to make it a priority. Simple!

When you realise you have a choice, you should let this empower you! Some people fear this and stay in denial. You may believe that it is all out of your hands but it is in nobody else’s hands but yours.

Sometimes the first step is making time and before you say you don’t have any… you do. Decide exactly what you are going to do and then choose a time in which you can do it. For example you are going to go swimming, gym or even as simple as I am going to do 20 push ups in the living room, then factor in when you can do this. It sounds unbelievably simple but what I mean about choosing when, I mean you need to be realistic and you need to make it a priority. I know that for example, for me, after work, commuting home, doing the food shopping and then food prep, I will probably be quite tired. So it makes sense for me to go to bed early, in order to get up and hit the gym before work. Don’t get me wrong, leg day at 5:30am isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. For me this is realistic. The reason I say “for me” is because everyone is different! Some people prefer to train after a late shift, say at 10 or 11pm…If I trained at 10pm you would most likely find me curled up on the bench under my gym towel!

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

One of the biggest factors I believe that can accelerate results, is preparation. Two most important things I like to keep prepped is my work out gear and my food. I keep my gym wear, trainers and my bag packed in the same place to save time. This means when I am ready to go there is no faffing around or hesitation. Believe it or not I have in the past convinced myself getting ready for the gym, finding a matching pair of gym socks and packing my bag is just far too much effort. Now I have no excuse! I also would massively recommend preparing your meals and snacks in advance. I tend to do this on a Sunday afternoon. If I don’t have time on a Sunday, I will prepare 2 or 3 days worth of meals in one big batch and get them in to tubs ready for the fridge. This saves time, money, hassle and needless trips to the vending machines! (I will be writing more in a future blog posts on how to bulk food prep!)

Another key part of this process is preparing yourself that it may not go the way you expect. Weight loss, or muscle growth is going to be different for everyone. I understand that one of the reasons some people are scared to lose weight is what your body may look like after. Loose skin, seeing the stretch marks, saggy bits. I follow a guy called John David Glaude (aka Obese_to_Beast) on social media who lost 170lbs! He has basked in the glory of his loose skin and allowed other people to do the same. One change for me personally, that in theory I really should have seen coming but didn’t, was the loss of my boobs. Don’t get me wrong I have never been particularly busty. But I lost a stone and half and I felt as if all of that was from my chest! But I have learned to love my body, for what it is capable of and how well it adapts to all I throw at it. I want to do the best I can to make to make my body healthier, faster and stronger.

If you are reading this believing you aren’t where you want to be. It’s because you chose not to be. Don’t despair at this thought, embrace it, because it means you can still do something about it. You make the decisions that can lead you to what you really want. Don’t get me wrong if you have suffered a health set back this may have not been in your control, but if you want to lose weight and you grab a sugar filled coke at lunch over a bottle of water. That is a choice. A small choice but something that can have a huge impact.

Like I have touched upon in previous post, if you want this, have it. Do it. Take a step towards it. Doesn’t have to be a leap, but on the flip side why not jump in! You deserve it. Don’t believe for a second that you can’t do it. No matter age, gender, height or weight, you can start this journey to make you and your body a priority in your life.

Me

Taylor @tgmfitnesselite

 

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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

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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