Finding Your Feet


So, I’m stranded in France!

Yes, my passport got lost in transit at some point, and I now find myself unable to return home for a few days.

This has thrown a spanner in the works for multiple reasons:

1 – My boyfriend had planned a weekend O fun for us

2 – I had planned a rather impressive, almost superhero like, return to training

3 – I am now still eating and drinking like I am on holiday…even though technically, I am not

When life throws me curveballs like this, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t handle it all too well. I may or may not have had a meltdown on an airport shuttle bus.

I like structure. I like routine. I like knowing that, predictably, I’ll always get out what I’m willing to put in. This is a nutshell is why I’m so good at what I do. I know that if I train my balls off and eat like a human science experiment for an allotted period of time, my body WILL change, so I stick at it. Yes, there are days when I HATE every living second of it (this is largely down to the existence of pizza and cheesefries), but there are mostly days when I LOVE the challenge and the results that come with. Likewise, I know that if I don’t upload content on this site for a few days, my hits will go down, but when I do write an update, they will go back up. Rhyme and reason like this gives me comfort and stability, and those are things my anxiety riddled brain needs in high doses.

 

If, like me, you are prone to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, over thinking, whatever it may be, I want to encourage you to give a fit and healthy lifestyle a go. Not a half assed effort, when does that ever work? I mean a real go.

By all means start slowly, empty your cupboards out, throw away your takeaway menus and make your diet as clean and healthy as can be.

If you drink every night, start having a couple nights off a week, then turn that into every other day, finally aim to enjoy a few drinks once a week maybe.

If you feel sluggish and unfit, start going for long walks every other day, then see if you can have a bit of a jog somewhere along that walk, then see if you can break that walk up into HIIT sprints.

If you want to lift weights but don’t know where to start, hire a gym based PT, look at my weights for women app, buy a fitness magazine and start picking up and collecting some routines. Aim to weight train 3 days a week, then 4, leading up to 5 or 6 if you enjoy it.

If you can’t figure out what exercises you are going to enjoy enough to stick at, book yourself in to a few classes. Yoga, Pilates, boxercise, spin and body pump are all hugely popular. Classes are a great way to meet people too if you are social and need that kind of interaction to enjoy something.

There are SO MANY OPTIONS. Please don’t think that what I do is perfect for you, it may be, it may not be, it doesn’t matter. I love weight lifting, it makes me feel strong and capable and it’s FUN. I like cardio less but I still enjoy it – like I said, a brain like mine needs that kind of release in high doses.

My best friend fell so in love with yoga she is now an instructor. Another swears by Pilates. A third cycles EVERYWHERE. There is a way to exercise for EVERYONE and once you’re fit and active, you’d be surprised at how this can bleed out into enjoying many different forms of training.

But it’s the structure, the goal and the effort that will help you mentally. Don’t be scared to start, it may be the best thing you ever did.


Fasted Cardio


Fasted cardio is talked about time and time again in the world of fitness competitors, the aesthetically obsessed, and of course, women.

Cardio is cardio is cardio – what I mean by this is whether you burn 500 calories at 7am before breakfast, or 500 calories at 7pm after dinner, makes no real difference at all.

The reasons behind fasted cardio, however, are multiple…

If you do cardio before breakfast, your body has less food fuel to burn for energy, so it burns more body fat instead – This philosophy is completely unproven, and even the fat burning arguments for LISS and HIIT contradict each other. Doing fasted cardio because you think it burns more fat is an opinion, not a fact, and it’s totally your choice to make.

If you do cardio before breakfast, your metabolism will sky rocket for the rest of the day, meaning your calorie intake is going to have less of a negative impact on your body – Yes, training of any kind does boost your metabolism as your body is keen to replenish its energy stores and will use food to do so. Therefor, doing it before breakfast means you get another meal in the tank that’s going to go to good use. However, a spiked metabolic rate is a spiked metabolic rate, so again, it is your decision to make.

If you do cardio before breakfast, it’s then out of the way, and you can focus on the rest of your day and or weight lifting – This is the main reason I do fasted cardio. Cardio is long, it’s boring, and I’d rather get it over and done with asap.

If you do cardio before breakfast and lift weights later on, you’re giving your body more of an opportunity to build and hold onto muscle efficiently – By separating your cardio from your weight lifting, you are allowing your body to adapt to 2 very different types of training and progress separately.

Do you have to do fasted cardio to lose weight, shed fat or see better progress? No. You need to train hard and diet smart to lose weight, shed fat and see better progress.

I do it. I enjoy it. But this is not a one size fits all philosophy.


Personal Update


Those of you who follow me on social media will know that I’ve been having a tough old time of it lately.

 

The challenge of changing your body can be extremely fun. Don’t get me wrong here; I use the word challenge because that’s exactly what it is – day in, day out, for months on end. However, knowing that the mental and physical tenacity will pay off is enough to make some of us white knuckle it and genuinely smile through the pain en route.

This tends to be the case for me, and when I feel like my goals have been accomplished and it’s time to eat and drink whatever I damn well want for a week, I embrace it with open arms and vegetables become a temporary memory.

 

But every now and then, knuckling back down feels like so much more than just a challenge. There are days when the mental strength is so lagging, that the physical feels completely impossible.

In my personal experience, this happens when there’s other stuff going on that requires 100% of your focus. For me, this time around, it has been moving house, nursing my boyfriend back to health after a massive operation, and finding myself snowed under with work commitments.

 

I said this on my Instagram page and I’ll say it again now; every time I was in the gym, I felt like I should leave. Every time I said no to food or a (much needed) glass of wine, I wondered why the hell I was torturing myself. In the end, I started to think I might have to take more than a little break from this lifestyle.

 

HOWEVER, as is ALWAYS the way, I found my feet again. My life started to calm down. We started to settle into the new house. My boyfriend didn’t get fed up with my deteriorating mental state, if anything he became increasingly supportive. Eventually, my focus started to shift back to my diet and training routine.

 

All of a sudden, my workouts started being fun again. My diet started to become routine again. And my body started to change again.

 

This isn’t quite the ‘looking after your body is a form of self respect’ or the ‘health and fitness is my lifestyle’ meme that the pearly white, bikini clad, French plaited, herbal tea drinking pretties hawk on Instagram. No. This is the cold hard truth of it.

The fact of the matter is, life just isn’t balanced sometimes, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes work takes over. Sometimes you want to feel good in a bikini so you hit the gym every day. Sometimes you can’t remember the last time you ate a salad, and sometimes you find yourself going through a hard time. C’est la vie.

 

So when things are a bit overwhelming and you feel bad about losing your passion for one thing, remember that it’s probably a good thing that you have more to be passionate about for a minute.

 

I have a photoshoot in 2 weeks and there’s no way I’m going to be at my leanest for it – but hey – I am fit, I am healthy, I am happy and I don’t always need to be a tiny little lean bean to prove it.

 

I’m still going to push – the bug is well and truly back – but I have no interest in losing my sanity because I have a stubborn pocket of fat somewhere.

 

Week 1 – 134.9lbs

Week 2 – 132.8lbs

Week 3 – 129.9lbs

 

I’m about 4lbs up from my ‘lean’ weight so here’s to the next week of giving it 100%!


Women’s Health Ask Some Questions


Which part of your body have you overcome issues with and now feel most confident about?

I’ve always carried my fat around my mid section and as I got older I became more insecure about it. Now, when I’m in shape, it’s my favourite part of my body because it reflects how lean I am and how hard I’ve worked. But it’s the first place to gain and the last place to shrink.

What process did you have to go through to get to that point?

I realised from becoming a PT that EVERYONE has a problem area, nobody is perfect, and it is completely natural to have something you’re insecure about. We are all human.

What has held you back about feeling confident about it in the past?

When I was a teenager, I went from being very slim and eating everything in sight, to suddenly seeing little pockets of fat develop on my body. It was a shock when I could no longer wear a belly top or bikini without looking a far cry from the slender days of my childhood and early adolescence.

What advice would you give to other women about learning to love the parts of their body that they haven’t always felt confident about?

Understand that nobody is perfect and that we all struggle with how we look – ESPECIALLY now social media has become so visual and vain. I am definitely somebody who shows my body a lot but that’s when I am in the best shape of my life. I don’t look like that on your average Tuesday after date night and dessert.

How does social media affect the way you feel about your body?

It motivates me greatly. However, it also makes me feel uncomfortable knowing that my boyfriend for example is looking at these women and potentially thinking it’s normal to be ripped, face tuned and filtered to perfection. I find it very inspirational until it becomes comparative, and that’s where I try to draw the line.