- If you feel TIRED or UNWELL, go for a slower more gentle workout involving a walk, or stretches and gentle core strength.
- if you feel STRESSED, go outdoors or stick some music on which uplifts you to take yourself OUT OF YOUR HEAD and into the moment.
- if you feel ANGRY, you need some strength work…or some boxing gloves, give me a call 😉
- If you are feeling good and motivated – GO WITH IT! Make the most of the rare free time and positive attitude and give yourself a great workout (be that a jog, a mini circuit in your living room, a YouTube workout… the possibilities are endless!)
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and so I wanted to write a little something about Mental Health when it comes to exercise.
I absolutely LOVE MY JOB. I get to meet so many different people, with different jobs, interests, families and outlooks on life.
The more folks I meet, the more reasons that emerge for individuals wanting to take on a Personal Training programme. Primarily, weight loss and improved body composition are the motivating factors. The PHYSICAL benefits. As time goes on, the physical changes start to bring benefits for the individual, and their families, mentally:
- Couples have told me that they are arguing less, as they are sleeping better, which helps them tackle the anxieties and stresses of the next day with a clearer, better rested head.
- I have been over to train individuals after a particularly horrible day at work, finding them feeling relaxed and ‘lifted’ by the end of the hour – either through letting it all out with a bit of boxing (!), or chatting through the day whilst working through resistance work and stretches.
- I have been informed that gaining strength where someone once was convinced they would never have it has given such a profound sense of achievement and pride that they feel a boost in confidence and feel more comfortable with themselves.
From my own experience, appreciating my body for what it can do, what I can achieve, how strong or fast or energetic I can be, has helped me gain confidence and be comfortable with myself physically, which has had an enormous positive impact on me mentally.
I have wanted to share and give this feeling to others ever since I started training. And I feel so happy that I see this feeling in others when we work together.
I urge you to check out this article from MentalHealth.org.uk Mental Health and Exercise if you need any more convincing that Exercise is about so much more than just the Physical Benefits.
Don’t underestimate the importance of being kind to yourself.
- less chance of injury, not only in the race, but during training. The body is not pushed too far, too quickly
- mentally, what once was difficult becomes easier, and what once seemed impossible – becomes possible!
- maintain total body strength,
- ensure that the supporting tissues around the joints are stable to minimise injury
- improve stamina
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Who’s the number one important person? YOU!
It’s true – if you don’t look after yourself, you’re no good to anyone! It’s all too easy to help others with their problems and make very helpful, sensible measured suggestions when it comes to other people’s health, love and work lives…but when it comes to you, do you ‘have a word’ with yourself?
For example, when a friend says ‘I am having real trouble giving up chocolate for lent’ (how mean it is that Valentines was THE DAY AFTER Shrove Tuesday?! I digress..), do you find yourself saying ‘just don’t have it in the house’ or ‘only have ONE’ or ‘eat carrot sticks (!)’? Then, when you come home, you have a chocolate biscuit (the third one that day)? OR when they say ‘I know I should exercise more’ you offer the helpful advice of ‘go for a walk your lunch break, easy!’ …then your lunch break comes around and you can’t be bothered?
I could go on with a million examples, and I am sure you could think of a few too. The point is – why don’t you give yourself the same care and attention and advice you give to others?
When it comes to health and fitness, whilst many see exercise and healthy behaviours as a chore, they should be seen as a treat. YES! A treat to your mind, body and soul to allow the body to do what it was built to do – get the heart pumping, get those legs working, get lungfuls of air and let the pores open and sweat the stress away! Your body WANTS to be exercised, and your mind NEEDS the satisfaction and escapism of the achievement of reaching your physical goals.
TREAT yourself! Not to a piece of cake, but to a brisk walk or run. NO better way to warm up – it’s free, it’s refreshing and it burns calories. MUCH better than under a blanket with a box of Lindt truffles (other chocolates are available).
INDULGE yourself with a strength circuit! Get your biceps firing and those glutes toning. Increase your metabolism and LUXURIATE in the fat-burning benefits.
DELIGHT yourself with a stretch session. Loosen the tightness of a hard day through slow, controlled movements and improve your posture through gentle but firm stretches. Done before bed can really help with getting a good night’s sleep – and we all know the impact this can have on the following day!
Next time you find yourself giving advice to others about their lifestyle, health or fitness, take a second to hear your own words, and PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH.
This week I have been using my juicer to the max!
if you have been uhhming and ahhing about buying one – go for it! We use the Andrew James Slow Masticating Juicer and whilst it is a bit of a faff to clean, the juices are excellent.
NB: To ensure you are not overloading on the fruit sugars, try to mix in at least 50% vegetable juice. I also like to add Coconut Water to each of mine! Here are some of my invented combinations:
- 1 large orange
- 1 nectarine
- 1 cm cube ginger root
- 1 carrot
- half pint water
- 200ml coconut water
- 1 large apple
- 1 carrot
- 1cm cube ginger root
- handful spinach
- half pint water
- 200ml coconut water
- half avocado
- 1 apple
- handful spinach
- a few fresh mint leaves
- 300 ml coconut water
Great as a snack or a morning boost, keep well hydrated and get your greens in!
Takes 30-45 mins (incl prep)
Take a large, deep sided saucepan or frying pan and fry 1 onion, crushed garlic clove and a chopped red pepper in a tbsp Olive oil.
Add some sweetcorn, shredded spinach and 1 tin chopped tomatoes.
Add herbs and pepper to taste (I used mixed Italian herbs, medium chilli powder and some tomato puree).
When reduced down (after 15 mins or so) make 4 little wells and crack an egg into each. Allow to heat from the bottom for 5 mins, then place the whole pan under the grill until the whites are fully cooked (and the yolks if you like). Add some grated cheddar…And serve!
I added a salad but you can add steamed veg or some sweet potato wedges as a healthy carbohydrate.
Sweet or savoury, have a look at the below and see if anything works for you!
COCOA-NUT DATE BALLS
Measurements are really to taste, but roughly chop 1kg dates (you can buy some ready chopped). If they are dry, add a little water to the mix to make them sticky. This gets messy!
Add a good few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut (or any chopped nuts you like, almonds are also good)
Add a couple of tablespoons of raw cacao powder. This tastes quite bitter on its own, but added to dates really brings out the choccy-sweetness.
GET YOUR HANDS IN THERE and roll into balls.If the mix is too dry or too wet it won’t stick together so add water sparingly.
The balls should be about golf-ball sized, pop onto a baking sheet and stick in the freezer and get out whenever you fancy a sweet treat! Dates are quite high in natural sugars so, despite these being a good, natural alternative to chocolate or sweets, try to limit intake to only a couple a day!
NB: Add protein powder if you want a yummy high-protein snack. Bear in mind this will dry the mix out a little.
FRUIT SALAD SHOT
It’s pretty simple – get a load of fruit you like – vary the colours. Good ones for lower-fruit sugars are Guava (with only 5 grams of sugar in one piece of fruit), Papaya, Kiwi, Blueberries, Grapefruit and Pineapple, Cranberries, Raspberries and Strawberries. Get a big, air tight container and chop them all up and pop in. Kept in the fridge, this should last 3-4 days. Measure out a fist-sized amount for a mid morning or afternoon snack. Add some no-added-sugar greek yoghurt (or, my personal favourite, Quark) if you want something a little more filling. This can also be taken to work as a packed-snack, just make sure your pot is sealed tight…don’t want sticky purple juice all over your handbag…
Yes, not very fun on their own, but what you dunk them in can be!
Salsa – 4-5 peeled, chopped and de-seeded tomatoes, 1/2 a medium red onion, small garlic clove, squeeze of lime, a bunch of fresh coriander (chopped well) and salt and pepper to taste. Low fat, low sugar, full of flavour!
Houmous/ Hummus (I never know the correct spelling!) -Chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt, tahini and water blended to a creamy texture. A flavourful alternative to shop-bought and all natural!
Tzaziki – greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, dried mint and salt and pepper to taste! Simple, fresh, and very tasty.
NB: Make sure you portion out the dips you have, take to work, on the go, great for a yummy alternative snack when those processed nibbles are winking at you!
With so much health and fitness advice out there, and a zillion different goals – tone, build, burn fat, sculpt the bottom- to a new exerciser, it can be a confusing minefield and knowing where to start is difficult. And when things are difficult, we put them off….
Here’s 5 things you can do NOW which will kick start you on the right path to improving your health and fitness.
Ditch the sugary treats
Yes, sadly, you can’t out-run a bad diet. Often, it’s not taking on an exercise programme that people find the toughest – it’s getting rid of those comfort foods, the snacks, the mid-afternoon pick-me-ups. This doesn’t have to be an all-out sugar cull. However, if you recognise that everyday at 10 am and 4pm you find you’re salivating over the biscuit tin, or standing by the cupboard spooning a choccy-nut spread out straight from the jar (yes, guiltyyyyy)…cut it out! Substitute for a large glass of water, a piece of fruit, handful of nuts. It’s important to recognise those habits and break them. Fill that void with a healthy activity or alternative. If, like me, you just know if it’s in the house, you will eat it, then REMOVE THE TEMPTATIONS. See ‘Guilty-not-guilty snacks’ blog for some yum alternative ideas.
Again, it’s not rocket science, but all too often we don’t value ourselves enough to give us the time to get exercise. Give yourself this ‘me time’ at least 30 mins a day where you are getting your heart rate elevated, getting a little breathless, and getting your step count up. This can be a brisk lunchtime walk, or walking to or from the bus. Where safe, stick on some music and do some step aerobics on a low step on your home (no-one’s watching, channel your inner-Jane Fonda). There’s no end to the 30-min workout videos on the internet which you can follow. You will never have to do the same one twice! Adding this time into your day can happen NOW (go on, get off the computer!)
Keep a food and exercise diary
Once you have nailed the two above points, keep a track of it! To help us stay on track, we need to be accountable and responsible for our progress. A great way to manage this is through a food and exercise diary. There are several apps out there you can use, or just good old notebook is enough. Be HONEST with yourself – don’t miss out that biscuit or spoon of jam – it’s not a punishment, but a record to help you identify your habits, and change them for the better. A good idea is to keep a track of your mood also – did you eat more or less when tired or stressed?
Make a short term goal
No, this doesn’t have to be weight related! Yes, the end goal may be ‘fit into my size 10 jeans’ or ‘weigh X lbs less’ but the shorter term goals are easier to keep on track. Such as, 30 mins exercise 5x per week at least. Another might be ‘change my 11am chocolate fix to an 11am banana’. How about ‘10,000 steps every day’? Or ‘Walk to the shops every time I go for the next month’. Goals will be different for everyone, and you will know what will be an achievement for you. Don’t take it upon yourself to make massive changes in one go as you may find it hard to keep these going and this can affect your motivation. When you achieve your goal, add one more!
Share with your friends or family
As stated above, accountability and responsibility is important to sustain changes successfully. When you decided to make a change, however big or small, tell a mate or a family member. When you start to lose motivation, if you’re anything like me, you will start to think ‘I want to show them I can do it’ and their knowledge of your efforts may well cheer you along (silently or otherwise). Even better, a friend may want to join in with you – it’s not a competition, as everyone is different and this MUST be remembered. However, if you know a little competition gets you going, then you can both encourage each other to keep focused and moving forward.
It all about making changes which work for YOU. Don’t be hard on yourself when you have an ‘off day’, just get right back on it tomorrow. Keep on going 😉
For more specific training and to learn fun and interesting new ways to exercise and improve health and fitness with the support of a professional, get in touch via the contact page to see how I can help you reach your goals.
There is a ‘middle age health crisis’ warns BBC
“Desk jobs, fast food and the daily grind are taking their toll, says Public Health England.
Eight in every 10 people aged 40 to 60 in England are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise, the government body warns.
PHE wants people to turn over a new leaf in 2017 and make a pledge to get fit.” – source http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38402655
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!
The more time that goes by where we are inactive, undoubtedly the scarier the prospect of exercise can be. But, it really is never too late to make improvements and get back on the right track with your health and well-being.
Too many of us make a range of excuses – not enough time, not enough energy, too overweight, painful joints….any of these sound like you or someone you know? Yes, life is very demanding, and often taking on a Health And Fitness programme can seem luxurious and indulgent – like going to a spa or watching your favourite box set.
HEALTH AND FITNESS IS NOT A LUXURY, ITS A NECESSITY
On a plane, the safety drill instructs you to put on your oxygen mask before you help others with theirs. Just like your health and fitness – you are no good to others if you are not looking after yourself first.
How often do you find you are lacking energy when your kids, or friends want to do something? How often do you find you are not getting enough sleep, or have trouble performing daily activities?
Keeping good Cardiovascular fitness, functional flexibility and strength and having a healthy metabolism and diet will boost your energy levels, enable you to be able to enjoy daily activities and more, help with consuming the right nutrients and give better, more restorative sleep.
SIMPLY PUT – YOU HAVE TO PRIORITISE ‘YOU’
Signing up for a Personal Training programme with B.E.Fitness and PT will kick-start your health and fitness journey. You will become educated about your body and how to get the most out of your exercise programme. You will receive dietary advice, homework, personalised sessions at home, outdoors or at the gym, telephone and email support, monthly measurements and form sustainable, healthy habits.
Don’t undervalue yourself. You owe it to YOU to be fit and healthy and live life to the full.