The Importance Of Consistency

There’s a well know saying that motivation is what gets you started, and that habit is what keeps you going. 

Now we have 2 kinds of habits – the unconscious ones that make up behaviour, and the ones we consciously want to cultivate to move us forward.

The thing about the conscious habits is, you have to practice them consistently. I already know this but sometimes we get served a reminder. 

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of travelling and some of my early morning habits suffered. Centering myself by taking time for me before accessing technology, gratitude lists, even eating well.

Guess what? Of course moving around so much is tiring, but not only my energy but my emotional state shifted. I felt like I was slightly out of step. Like I was losing my motivation, my positivity, my purpose.

It was a wake up call.

I’m not going to lie, getting going again was tough. I didn’t want to. Did I still want the results? Yes. Did I want to put in the work? Er, no.

Here’s the thing, the mental and emotional work is just as important as the physical and I know that. So accepting where I was at, how I was feeling, I gave myself 24 hours, then the next morning I started again with my habits.

It felt odd. It felt uncomfortable. But I did it. I put the reps in.

Of course, we all want instant results. I wanted to feel like it was making a difference straight away. It didn’t. It felt hard. If I’m honest if felt pointless. But I kept going.

In less than a week it felt great, and here’s the amazing thing. Good things started happening. People started getting back to me, opportunities appeared. 

Even without that I felt positive, energised, empowered again.

So tomorrow morning, why don’t you take 5 minutes before you do anything else, before you look at your phone, before you switch on the tv and just write down 3 things you’re grateful for, and 3 things that were great yesterday. 

Start the day positive. Keep starting the day positive. Be consistent and the rest will follow.

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Don’t Let Comparison Steal Your Joy

We live in an amazing, high tech, ultra connected world. We basically have the world’s knowledge in a device in the palm of our hand. Just stop and consider for a few seconds: you, right now, are living in the most scientifically and technologically advanced time the human species has ever known…

If we look back through history civilisations have come and gone. Vast tracts of the planet have lost their knowledge and learning and regressed.

Right now we are so so privileged. Self driving cars, intelligent devices, breakthroughs in medical science, in quantum theory. Make no mistake, this technology and what it delivers is amazing. Even 15 years ago what we have now would have seemed inconceivable (I know – I was working in mobile content back in 2000 – no one really understood or believed how these devices would advance and transform our lives).

Yet this technology also has a dark side. The paradox is that although we are now the most connected we have ever been in our entire planet’s history, we have soaring levels of loneliness, of depression, of dissatisfaction.

That’s because we can see into each other’s lives like never before. Or rather, we think we’re seeing other’s lives… Twenty years ago you pretty much knew your friends and family well, and what you knew about them, you knew from hanging out with them or them telling you. Today you can monitor your friends’ activities thousands of miles away via your social feed. Not only that, you can see right into complete stranger’s lives as if you know them. And don’t their lives look wonderful?

Social media breeds a false intimacy on multiple levels. Two of which are that you don’t actually know that person at all. The other is that you only see what they want you to see.

You have a perception that their life is soooo much better than yours. Yet what they post may be an illusion too. That travel blogger always on a beach bragging about “laptop lifestyle” is actually lonely and broke. The fitness blogger that always has the perfect body and posts indulgent meals. But they’re not eating those meals. Those pics were taken months ago on a cut. They’re hungry and tired…and loathe their body.

I could go on. The intimacy that social media brings bypasses our filters. We want to believe what we see. Our lives don’t stack up, we slip into negative thought patterns, or worse, negative self-beliefs.

Stop it! Now. It will destroy you.

I bet you have so so much going for you right now.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Right now just jot down 10 things you’re grateful for in your life – anything that gives you joy or you’d be miserable without.

Take 5 minutes each morning to count your blessings. You have many. This will help to build a positive mindset, and when we give out positivity we begin to get it back 🙂

Do your gratitude list. Apply your filter. Embrace the world with a positive mindset for what you have and what you can achieve.

SHUT OUT THE NOISE. It’s not real. And it has zero bearing on who you are and who you can become.

Winter Body Tips

Most of us find it really tough keeping up our exercise and nutrition goals in Winter. Is it any wonder? Short dark days, long nights, cold weather. It’s all to easy to skip the workout when you look out the window and see the rain falling. Plus the cold makes us crave comfort food (we’re swaddled in big clothes anyway..!)

Firstly, don’t be too hard on yourself. A lack of natural light can lead to a vitamin D deficiency (since we synthesise vitamin D from sunlight) which can in turn, lead to fatigue and depression. Even in mild cases, you’ll feel like you can’t be bothered to hit the gym or do a workout. Throw in cold weather and your body starts to crave the energy hits of sugars and starches from “heavier” carbs.

So now we know it’s normal to feel a bit ropey – we can take responsibility for addressing it. The winter months don’t have to be the time you let yourself go, only to give yourself more of a mountain to climb as Spring comes.

Yes it’s OK to enjoy Christmas festivities with canapés and mince pies – but don’t let it get out of control.

And remember – Summer Bodies Are made In Winter!

Here’s our top ten tips on how to stay on track…

1. Set some goals and be accountable
Arguably the most important tip here. Nail this and the rest will fall into place. Set yourself some training and/or body goals, and check in with them frequently. Make yourself accountable by publicly sharing them within a supportive space. Countless psychological studies show that setting and checking in with goals makes you more likely to achieve them than not (duh!) but also that telling trusted others (who support you) makes you more likely to succeed. A place like our Academy community is perfect – our members post their goals, their progress and are supported on their journey (38nacademy.com) – you have the benefit of being with a like-minded tribe. A close friend, partner or family member is another option.

2. HIIT it up
We get it, you don’t want to spend hours of your week training. Neither do we. HIIT delivers cardio-vascular, conditioning and fat burning benefits in 15 – 20 minutes of intense activity. It’s our go to way of training and a time effective way to keep to your body goals. Top tip – if you’re looking to reduce body fat go for it fasted first thing in the morning.

3. Take it outside
Outside the weather might be frightful but there is some great technical gear out there now to keep you warm and dry. Working out outside has been proven to boost your mood – cue Vitamin D. Plus, how good will that hot shower feel coming in from a workout in the cold?

4. Buddy up
See accountability in Tip 1 above…find a workout partner. You’ll have someone on the same journey as you, experiencing the same things. Support each other and you’ll find you’ll get there quicker, with more fun. Claire and I make each other accountable – mainly because we don’t want to let the other one down!
The good news is we’re launching a FREE 2 WEEK CHALLENGE on Facebook in January, where we’ll be posting our eating and exercise routine every day. We’ll be your buddies and you’ll be ours – burning off that festive excess and cheering each other on. Look out for details coming soon…

5. Gear up
New workout gear can make you feel more inspired to train. I see Claire lift heavier when she’s flouncing around in her new Nikes (not that she needs more encouragement to buy lycra!) Maybe add some workout gear to the Christmas list…?

6. Workout at home
These days you really can workout anywhere, anytime. Sites like YouTube and Vimeo have workout videos galore. We have hundreds of REAL TIME workout videos in our Academy – which is like having our own PT in your living room. And it’s for every level of fitness.

7. Enjoy the good stuff but moderate
Christmas comes but once a year, but the Christmas excess can feel like it will take a year to shift! Instead of over-indulging, make the conscious choice to enjoy what’s on offer – in moderation. Mince pies are yummy, but how many do you really need each week? Every time you’re tempted, pause and remember your goal (visualise it!) Think about this choice point and whether it is moving you forward or back.

8. Start a new programme
Learning stimulates new neural pathways, so why not start a new training and nutrition programme? You’ll be working your mind as well as your body, meaning you’re more engaged in the process, and get results. We’re launching a 40 Plus Back To Fitness 4 Week programme for the new year.
This is a complete, 4 week, done for you course with real time workout videos, meal plans, recipes and motivational emails to keep you on track. Look out of the launch (we already have a waiting list!)

9. Boost your vitamin D
Always check with your health professional before supplementing, BUT – in the winter you’ll benefit from a Vit D supplement. We also love waking up to light rather than the shrill of an alarm – so consider a light alarm clock that wakes you up gradually. They’re not too expensive these days and for us they make a huge difference to they way we feel.

10. Book a holiday
Booking a holiday not only gives you something to look forward to, but you can use it to reinforce your goals or help you set some for the future. We have it all covered at our Marbella retreats. Fitness, Mindset, Nutrition and winter sun. Surrounded by 5 star luxury.

Our Body:Reset retreat is running at the stunning Puente Romano Marbella from January 10th to 13th…so get in touch if you want to grab one of the last few spots… click here for details

Exercise Snacking – A Time Poor Solution That Yields Results

Modern life can be hectic and we know that many of clients are super busy and struggle to fit workout time into their schedule. Our approach is all about enabling people to get results through short, effective workouts, and this is what we coach on our retreats (along with other hacks to help you hit your goals). But what if you’re too time pressed even for a 15 or 20 minute workout?

Well, exercise snacking could be the way forward! First up, let’s start by saying that though exercise snacking can be effective, we wouldn’t recommend it as an ongoing programme, time-wise and results wise you would be better off spending 20 to 40 minutes in the gym, (except blood sugar wise – more on that later) and let’s face it – while snacking might sound enticing – it’s probably easier to fit one workout window into your day than lots of short ones. But… sometimes we are pressed for time, so here’s the low down on exercise snacking…

Exercise snacking is breaking your exercise up into very small chunks of around 1 to 5 minutes. There have been two main studies on this so far.

The first looked at cardio chunks, in the study examining the benefits of exercise snacking, researchers compared blood sugar in participants who exercised for 30 continuous minutes and, in the same group, when they broke their exercise up into three small portions performed shortly before breakfast, lunch and dinner. This “exercise snacking” lowered blood sugar for about 24 hours and did so much better than the 30-minute continuous exercise, in blood sugar terms.

A second study by the University of Bath study aimed at helping older adults maintain strength past 50 (when we start to lose about 1% of our muscle mass per year, that loss accelerating even more from around 60) also looked at exercise snacking but with bodyweight resistance exercises.

As part of the study, 10 older adults (aged 65 – 80) completed 5 minutes of home-based exercise snacking twice a day for 28 days, and another 10 older adults continued their normal daily activity to act as controls. The exercises were very basic body-weight resistance exercises. The participants did each exercise for one minute, completing as many repetitions as they could, and then rested for one minute before doing the next exercise.

After four weeks of exercise snacking, the number of sit-to-stand repetitions that the snacking group could complete in 60 seconds increased by 30%, and leg strength and power increased by 5% and 6% respectively. Alongside this, thigh muscle size increased by 2%, with no changes in the control group.
So there you go, as we always coach our clients, doing something is better than nothing, and with the benefits of exercise snacking clear, there really are no excuses!

If you’d like to join us on a retreat or have us coach you, drop us an email or join us at our Academy here.

Taking Your Retreat-Acquired Knowledge Home To Your Busy Life

Fitness retreats are all the rage right now with a mounting number of people looking to incorporate a fitter lifestyle into one that includes traveling to exotic destinations. Wellness tourism, of which fitness retreats forms a part, is booming with the industry growing nearly 50% faster than overall global tourism in 2017 according to the Global Wellness Tourism Economy Report (GWTER).  Our lives have become so busy that it is easy to lose track of what is important: our own health and well-being. At a fitness retreat, we are privy to invaluable guidance from seasoned professionals pertaining to our general health and well-being, fitness and nutrition. In order for the fitness retreat to be of real value to us, we need to take the knowledge we gain back home and apply it to various areas of our busy lives. That’s why we developed our Academy – to support you and keep you on track for your body goals, where ever you are.

Make an effort to eat healthily

Regardless of where in the world you go on a retreat, healthy nutrition is bound to be a focal point, especially considering that over 50% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese according to the NHS.  While on your fitness retreat you will become accustomed to eating nutritious meals that not only fuel your body but your mind as well. Once you return home you need to find a way to continue with your newly-acquired healthy eating habits despite a very demanding work schedule. One way to ensure that your eating practices change for the better is to rid your home of junk food. You should also start packing your own healthy lunches for work instead of buying takeaways or eating at the work canteen. If you are pressed for time to make your own healthy dinners, set aside an hour at the start of every month and draw up a menu. You can even prep some of the food in advance and refrigerate or freeze it for later use.

Forget fad diets, miracle supplements and  “promise the world” slimming teas and coffees. We focus on coaching you for sustainable fat (not weight) loss, and maintenance, whilst still living in balance and enjoying life. Our flexible nutrition approach based around knowing your TDEE (if you don’t know – come see us!) and ideal macro ratios make it simple to eat well for your goals. This is what we teach on our retreats and via our Academy, with a host of resources to make it easy to eat healthily even when you’re pressed for time.

You’ll have our nutrition workshop on your retreat to set you up for simple to follow, sustainable healthy eating, and in our Academy we have meal planners, recipes, nutritional videos and guides to help you.

Exercise regularly

The foremost purpose of a fitness retreat is to instill a healthy attitude towards exercise in attendees. Despite the importance of regular exercise being common knowledge, half of British adults never do any exercise according to the British Heart Foundation. Regardless of how demanding your work life is, you need to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic a week once you return from your retreat as recommended by the NHS. One of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise into a busy lifestyle is to start setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier in the morning to either go for a brisk walk or jog, do some yoga or even engage in some kettlebell exercises. You can also remain active while at work, opting to go for walks during your breaks instead of staying at your desk or even squeezing in a gym session.

Most of our clients are time-poor so we focus on short yet effective training protocols both on our retreats and with our coaching clients. Why spend hours in the gym when you can get the same results with informed eating and training?

Stay well hydrated

During your fitness retreat, you would have often been encouraged to drink enough water not only during your periods of physical exertion but during the day in general as well. Sometimes it becomes difficult amidst a very demanding day to get through even a single bottle of water regardless of the recommended daily intake of 8 glasses.  If you struggle to drink plain water you can spruce it up easily with a couple of lemon slices, a sprig of lime or other fruit including pineapple, kiwi, and berries. Drinking a glass of water prior to a meal can help you eat less, aiding your weight loss efforts while keeping your body well-hydrated.

The success of any fitness retreat lies in its ability to change your lifestyle in the long run. If you only engage in healthy eating habits and regular exercise while on retreat but return to your unhealthy habits as soon as you return home, your time at the retreat would be futile. Try to incorporate what you have learned into your everyday life and fully enjoy the benefits of your time away on a potentially life-changing fitness retreat.

If you want to keep in shape post-retreat and be supported then why not join our  Academy? It’s an online resource brimming with workout videos, programmes, nutritional information, hundreds of recipes, mindset, goal setting and motivation tools, and a private facebook group where we host live training and webinars. It’s free for 5 days then just $37 a month – less than a PT session or a coffee a day!

Check out the Academy here.

5 De-Bloating Hacks

There’s nothing worse than putting on your jeans and feeling like you’ve ballooned overnight. But before you spiral into a deep depression, know that most people confuse weight gain with bloating and water retention. And we admit – there’s nothing worse than feeling like a whoopy cushion. So let’s look at 5 ways you can de-bloat in just 3 days.

1. Reduce your salt intake
When you eat sodium you body retains water, which can then cause bloating. So make sure you drink at least 2l of water a day to flush you out and most importantly be aware of hidden salt in your food – it’s everywhere….especially packaged goods!

2. Choose your fruit and veg wisely
Although your five a day are full of nutrients and will benefit your health, if you’re feeling bloated, here’s some advice. Choose your fruit and veg wisely. Some fruit has a higher sugar content than others and can bloat you out – so go for options like blueberries, strawberries and oranges as they have less. Choose vegetables wisely too. Broccoli and cauliflower although yummy are loaded with raffinose – which is the same compound that produces gassiness when you eat beans. Need we say more….

3. Chew with your mouth closed
It’s not always what you eat, but how you eat. Chatting away during a meal means you’re letting air in the digestive tract. Slowing down eating means you’ll digest food easier, which can also lead to less bloating. Talk between bites not during chewing!

4. Don’t overdo the fibre
Fibre is great and eating it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. The problem comes when you go from eating very little fibre to eating more. This happens a lot when people go on ‘diets’ or change to a healthier approach. You need to expect a little amount of readjustment in the gut. Our advice – if you’re heading for a special event, just watch your fibre intake for a few days.

5. Ditch the carbonated drinks
Last one – you must ditch the carbonated drinks as they deliver air straight to your gut. Your body will feel like a distended gas works – plus they frequently have lots of other nasties in them. As boring as it sounds – stick to water!

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