Festive Stress

Festive Stress

The Festive Season unfortunately isn’t all about sitting around a log fire, eating Mince pies and listening to Christmas Carols … For many of us, it’s a super stressful time where we run around like lunatics, trying to do everything and please everybody. Shopping, Wrapping, School Plays, Cooking, Travelling and Xmas drinks with friends take up so much time and planning that the festive season becomes a full-time job and the stress of it all can play havoc with your health.

The symptoms of Stress can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behaviour so being able to limit your stress symptoms at this busy time of year is really important for your health as it can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and weight gain (blame the stress not the mince pies!) To avoid getting caught up in the frenzy of it all, try to make sure you’re still sleeping, eating well and keeping up with your usual exercise, if at all possible.

Learn to say No

Saying no to Christmas party Invitations can be a challenge especially if you want to please others by constantly saying yes, when really you want to say no – this can have an impact on your wellbeing and stress levels. Just tell your friends or family the truth; that you love them and want to do it for them but you are just so busy and you have other things to take care of. Most people will understand as they’re probably juggling their own diary.

Gift panic

So many get super stressed out at this time of year feeling the pressure to buy everyone and their dog presents. Although it’s nice to, you shouldn’t need to buy a gift to show your love and appreciation for someone, especially if it’s going to put you in debt. Good friends and family will understand.

Me Time

In the run up to Christmas, make some time for yourself. Whether it’s an hour at the gym, a massage, reading a book or sitting and having an uninterrupted coffee, It’s important to give yourself the same care and consideration that you would others, so take a break from thinking about the shopping, cooking and organising and have a few minutes of me time.

And don’t forget, you can always delegate. A problem shared is a problem halved, so get someone else to do the gift wrapping (even if it doesn’t look as neat as when you do it yourself) You can’t do everything singlehandedly!

Wishing you a Merry (Stress-free) Christmas!

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (D.O.M.S)

What exactly is D.O.M.S ?

Aching muscles, sometimes referred to as D.O.M.S (Delayed onset muscle soreness) sets in sometimes 6 to 8 hours after your workout. It may peak around 24 to 48 hours post workout, although this varies depending on the individual.  It’s the result of muscle micro trauma, which causes inflammation and soreness, created in your muscles when you’ve introduced a new exercise, activity or increased the intensity or volume of your usual training. It’s your bods way of making adaptations to prepare your muscles to do it again.

Sore Muscles is the most common characteristic of D.O.M.S, but other symptoms such as reduced range of motion and joint stiffness, local swelling and tenderness, and diminished muscle strength can also occur.

How does it occur?

Its the active lengthening of muscle fibres under load (body weight or weights). Think of it like you’re pulling on a rope, and there’s so much force that the rope starts to tear and pull apart. This is when your muscle fibres sustain tiny tears that cause the trauma to them.

When you’ve experienced D.O.M.S before and are a regular exerciser, it may become the Medal after your workout!  You’ve pushed yourself and the fact that you can feel it the next day is your reward.  However, it doesn’t always mean that you’re not getting a good workout when you’re not crippled the next day. Studies show that muscle soreness isn’t the best indicator of how hard you’ve worked or how fit you are. It’s true that you will start to feel less sore as your body adapts to your training and works more effectively (The reason it’s wise to regularly change your routine) but people also respond differently to pain and soreness.

D.O.M.S isn’t a bad thing!

Muscle trauma is needed to make muscles stimulate protein production and to repair themselves to get bigger and stronger than before so that the muscle soreness doesn’t happen again.

Unfortunately the effects of stretching after your workout don’t always reduce the effects of D.O.M.S.  Although while you may not be able to avoid soreness altogether, it’s a good idea to include a warm up and cool-down period as part of your routine. There are other ways to alleviate the symptoms – A massage will move the fluid and blood around in your body which can help the micro trauma in your muscles to heal better, other common ways to treat D.O.M.S include foam rolling, hot and cold showers/baths, Epsom salt, increased protein intake, omega-3 supplementation and sleep.  It’s also important to look at your diet to make sure your getting the right balance and enough nutrients to feed your body for the job it’s doing.

There may be times when you overdo it with your workout and feel really bad afterwards. You should be concerned if your level of soreness does not go down significantly after 96 hours, if the pain becomes worse and you start to experience swelling in your limbs, or your urine becomes dark in colour, you should see your doctor. If it’s an injury, you’re more likely to feel it immediately during your workout and you shouldnt ignore this. Soreness, on the other hand, will appear gradually, often the next day.

So although D.O.M.S (unfortunately) can be a horrible after effect of exercise, it happens for a reason – so you can go back and do the workout all over again – this time Stronger!

When things don’t go to plan

when things don't go to plan

 

When Things don’t go to plan

A goal is just a wish without a plan, but what happens when the plan fails?

Progressive programming and periodisation, mathematically and scientifically calculated, works extremely well in theory – but in the real world is it really a SMART Plan for success?

The specifics for how to plan periodised training and nutrition plans to achieve accurately calculated progress are vital for programming athlete’s performance schedules, However, they may not always be as vital or effective for the average person wanting to work towards specific goals.

Here’s why………

No matter how dedicated, committed and focused you are, unless your training and diet schedule is the top priority in your life, there are always going to be circumstances that arise in which it will take a backseat. Family, work responsibilities, injury or illness – for most of us happen! And deviating from a strict plan is sometimes inevitable – Life gets in the way!

There are going to be times that your plan will need to change, adapt and re-route to an alternative path to reach your goals so you don’t get to the point of giving up on them altogether! and rather than seeing it as a failure and feeling de-motivated when you’ve missed a scheduled training session and not stuck to your plan with military precision, you need to appreciate that you haven’t failed, you’re not halting your progress, but you’re just adapting your plan to reach your goal.  Obviously, if you’re skipping your programme just because you aren’t committed enough and you have no self-control or discipline, you’re not going to be making progress, however it could mean that the programme your following just isn’t the right programme for you.

Is your Training plan torture?

There also has got to be some element of enjoyment to your training to get the most from your workout and the same applies to your diet.  You’ll always give more effort if you’re enjoying it and your adherence to you programme won’t continue if you’re not!

Adapting your plan may mean choosing an alternative that’s suitable for your current state.  You may have low energy that day for the workout specified on your training schedule, so you may need to switch your workout accordingly or even skip it and rest – which may sometimes be a lot more beneficial than pushing through a workout that’s too intense.  Hormone levels may mean that for 3 or 4 days a month you find it impossible to stick to your calorie requirements, so rather than just blowing the diet completely, just allow for extra calories on these days.  You’re not failing, you’re still on track, you’ve just varied your route!

And remember, progress isn’t only tracked by the numbers – weight, reps, measurements, calories etc. it’s also about HOW GOOD YOU FEEL!

The Reason you’re not getting results

 

The Reason you’re not getting results…….

Are you wanting a Miracle innovation to answer your Body Goal prayers and give you that vital piece of information that will give you amazing results overnight?

Well you’re not going to find it here! I’m sorry but I’m not going to tell you any well-kept magical secret that will give you a 6 pack in a week or make you drop a stone overnight, but please read on as the answer is here……

Clever marketing campaigns of the latest Training equipment, Supplements, Superfoods and new Diet trends may tell you otherwise (don’t believe it!). Unfortunately, the same programme won’t work for everyone, even if their Goals are exactly the same.  Even the ‘Eat less, move more’ approach won’t work for everyone.

Personalised Training and Nutrition plans can help massively as you’ll be educated and motivated on how to reach your goals according to your own personal needs and circumstances, However, unless your trainer is with you 24/7 you’ll still need to put in a certain amount of effort yourself (we aren’t miracle workers!)

Many people understandingly want to achieve amazing results in the fastest time possible, so they work hard all week towards their goals – sticking to their calories, macro’s and training damn hard every day in the gym, however, it gets to the weekend and it’s a completely different story – drinking, takeaways, meals out, because they think that they deserve it after being ‘good’ all week. Maybe that’s true – but if you count the weekend as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, well that’s 43% of your week!  All the progress you’ve made Monday to Thursday can easily be cancelled out by the weekend, so although the weekend may be your reward for the week, you’re not going to see results happening very quickly no matter how much effort you put in for the other 57% of the week.  And it’s the amount of effort you put in that determines the results you’ll achieve………
It’s estimated it takes around 130 hours of Hard work to transform your body from unfit to fit. That equates to approximately 6 months of training an hour a day, 5 days a week OR (If you want faster results) 12 weeks of training 2 hours a day plus a weekend workout – and by training, I mean getting sweaty and feeling uncomfortable during your workout. On top of this you’ll need to change your eating habits so you’re feeding your body ‘good stuff’ at least 80% of the time to enable it to do its job and transform how you want it to.

The one simple change you can make that will make a BIG difference to your results is how much time and commitment you are prepared to dedicate to getting results and this will determine how soon you see the changes but, YOU CAN’T EXPECT AMAZING RESULTS WITHOUT PUTTING IN AMAZING EFFORT!!!

So, no matter how many astounding testimonials and transformation pictures companies use to tell you that their product is the Magical Miracle that you so desperately need, the actual magic comes from YOU. So don’t waste your money on the latest scam, just put in the extra EFFORT!

Fitness Motivation

Motivation: A theoretical construct used to explain behaviour. It gives the reason for people’s actions, desires and needs

Motivation is something that drives you – It’s the force behind your ambition to reach your goal.  You may get a trainer, a coach, read a book or look online to educate yourself about motivation, however, to be self-motivated, it must come from within.

Your goal maybe to lose a stone, but it’s the REASON you want to lose a stone e.g. to look sexy in your summer bikini, for health reasons due to doctor’s orders, or even that you just don’t want to be a size 16 anymore. Whether it’s a positive or negative ambition, these are the underlying reasons that give you the motivation to reach your goal, not the actual weight loss itself.

Most people have a sudden burst of enthusiasm to fire up their fitness motivation initially, but its STAYING motivated to keep working towards your goal that’s often the hardest part, so you’ve got to continuously remind yourself of how good you’re going to feel in that bikini / getting the all clear from your G.P / dropping a dress size.

First and foremost, you need to believe in yourself and that you CAN achieve your goal, recognise both your positive attributes, which will help you reach your goal along with your negative attributes which may hinder your progress.

Set yourself some S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time framed) goals. A goal without a plan is just a wish and creating a plan of action of how you’re going to reach your long-term goal is essential. Set short term goals also – One day / Week / Month at a time but always keep the long-term goal in mind as the route may change along the way. Having vague goals doesn’t work, as how do you know when you’ve actually achieved them?

It also helps to create a strong image of your goals to help visualize what you’re wanting to achieve, know exactly what it is you want, your reasons for wanting it and keep these images at the forefront of your mind on a daily basis (I have a goals photo gallery on my phone which I go through daily to Motivate me to work hard towards achieving them).

Surround yourself with positive, supportive and like-minded people that will help keep you on track and moving in the right direction – there is nothing more likely to distract you from your plan than a negative person who saboteurs your efforts along the way. There are also great benefits to your own motivation if you help motivate somebody else along the way, so having a motivational buddy / mentor can help.

It’s also important to reward yourself along each small step of the way, recognise your progress and focus on how far you’ve already come rather than how far you have to go. This is particularly important on those weeks that you may not have achieved what you had wanted to and feel like giving up e.g. You may have not lost the 2lb you were wanting to but if you’ve already lost 10lb in previous weeks you’re still nearer to your goal than you were when you first started. Learning how to cope when things don’t go to plan is probably the hardest part of keeping motivated, but is also the most important skill to learn to keep on track and not give up just because of one bad week.

Motivation tips:

  • Take it one day at a time
  • Surround yourself with positivity
  • Create a Vision board
  • Make S.M.A.R.T Goals
  • Reward yourself
  • Believe in yourself
  • Recognise your progress
  • Visualize accomplishing your goals