Body Confidence

The ultimate thing to remember about body confidence

The ultimate thing to realise about body confidence is….

It’s an inside job.

Trust me I see this time and time again with men and women.

You can be as ripped as Hugh Jackman or look like a Victoria Secret’s model and still not be body confident. I know women who do bikini competitions and have to see psychiatrists after the show because they dislike their body so much.

So what does this tell us?

It’s a mindset thing. Not an external reality thing.

Body confidence is an inside job.

It comes from acknowledging and accepting that you’re a WHOLE being that has some extraordinary gifts to share with the world.

It comes from being grateful for what you DO have.

It comes from being disciplined enough NOT to scroll through social media all day comparing yourself.

It comes from realising that ‘health and fitness’ looks different on everyone and it’s about how WELL and STRONG you feel.

So my advice is this….

Look after your body. Move it. Fuel it well.

Of course this brings confidence as your body responds physically.

But make sure you’re putting in the mental and emotional wellbeing reps too.

Without those reps, you won’t reach the best possible version of YOU – regardless of the size of your waist.

PS:

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Getting Triggered All The Time?

This one shift in thinking can honestly change your life.

It will…..

Lower anxiety.

Reduce frustration and anger.

Enable you to live with more peace.

This truth, when really acknowledged, is a total game changer.

The truth is this….

You cannot, regardless of how much you try, alter anyone else’s thinking, behaviour and actions.

Not your boss. Your partner. You parents. Your children. The person that pulled out in front of you on the way to work.

Neither can you alter circumstances outside of your control. The late bus. The rain. The economy.

The ONLY thing you can control is your reaction TO IT (OR THEM).

How you react is your choice. It’s your responsibility.

Will you choose to react with anger and force? Frustration and pain?

Or understand that the only one you’re truly hurting is yourself?

Those feelings are causing you stress and anxiety.

You may think you’re making a point. That your reaction is having the desired affect on the other person or situation.

But in truth….it’s you who suffers the greatest.

So…I ask you…

Are you going to CHOOSE to cause yourself anguish?

Or will you take your power of thought and reframe it.

Reframe it something like this…

“This feeling of anxiety and pain – trying to fix or control a situation or person outside of myself is not making me feel good.

The more I try, the more it hurts.

Therefore, I’m willing to acknowledge I can control my feelings and reactions.

Next time I’m triggered, I’ll remember this and take responsibility for trying to shift my feelings and reactions in a more positive direction.”

Being aware is always the first step to regaining your power.

Be gentle on yourself.

We’re all going to be triggered at points and it takes practice.

Be firm with your boundaries. But don’t seek to force others or situations. It’s exhausting and often futile.

Image credit: Contance Doyle [http://www.constancedoyle.com/]

Muscle Dysmorphia – A Personal Account

This week The Guardian ran a great piece by Sirin Kale on the rise of muscle dysmorphia (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/17/gym-eat-repeat-the-shocking-rise-of-muscle-dysmorphia).

For those of you that don’t know what muscle dysmorphia is, it’s a psychological condition where the subject feels they need to be bigger and more muscular, despite already being big and muscular. Tagged “bigorexia” it can become a devastating and all consuming obsession with serious emotional, mental and physical issues.

Mainly affecting men, self-referral is rare (often only when something has gone catastrophically wrong) and so it remains often undiagnosed and untreated.

The piece is full of stories of young men who’ve take muscle dysmorphia to an extreme. The symptoms: excessive workouts, eating disorders (too much, too little and/or binges), steroid and performance enhancing drug (PED) abuse.

Worryingly muscle dysmorphia is on the increase for young men, driven by media images of rippling torsos and six packs. Bigger is better is the clear message and it’s no surprise that in the UK we’re also seeing an increase in PED abuse, particularly for young men.

I’ve got personal experience of muscle dysmorphia, and I continue to witness it within the fitness profession. In the worst cases people are physically ruined. I see a lot of lies, deceit and people misleading others and hiding from their own behaviour.

So – in the hope of helping others with this article – I felt compelled to share my story.

25 year or so ago I was a fresh faced fresher at university. I was eager to carve a new identity, to fit in, to be self-confident. To me the key was to have a good body.

I’d been a fat kid until I was sent to boarding school where a combination of lots of sport and physical and mental bullying meant I shed the pounds. I threw myself into sport and weights with vigour. Among the sports I played through my teen years and twenties were rugby, rowing and boxing – all sports that value power. That meant lots of gym time.

However, my earlier fat kid taunting told my subconscious mind that despite the often insane amounts of exercise I was doing, I was still a fat kid. It came to a head during my first year at university, where I would train for 1 to 2 hours a day, but then have a salad for lunch and dinner, convinced I was still too fat.

Of course, I was working against my body. I wanted to bulk up and get big. I should have been eating everything I could get my hands on, but convinced that the person in the mirror was still fat and my muscles weren’t showing through enough, I did the opposite. The result was I didn’t see the goals I was looking for.

I was lucky. Over time I gradually let go of my behaviour and educated myself on how to nourish my body. But it’s a pattern that persisted until fairly recently (I‘m now 46). Until about 4 years ago, I would still leave food on plates even though I’m still hungry, not eat pizza crusts and make strange, irrational food choices because there’s a voice in my head telling me if I eat it I’ll get fat.

Thankfully I’ve worked on my psyche as well as my nutritional knowledge and I love my food and my training. Most importantly I learnt to love my body too. I do often wonder though how much I may have stunted my development by being so calorie deficient during my growth spurt years.

Sadly, I see muscle dysmorphia all the time in the fitness industry, and it’s getting worse, with social media playing a massive part in fuelling it.

I know a PT who looks amazing. But he should. He obsessively weighs and measures all his food, pre-packing it in boxes each week and eating at set times. He won’t go on dates as he won’t drink or eat food that isn’t on his programme. He’s depressed, lonely and aside from this there’s another price to pay. Every 6 to 8 weeks he’ll totally lose it, have a massive weekend, binge on drink and drugs, feel terrible, beat himself up about what he’s done then commit even harder to the rigidness of his regime. He’s been running this cycle for years.

So my advice:

  • Guys – please don’t look at these big muscly dudes and think it’s natural. It’s not – and they’re putting their body under huge stress that will wreak havoc in years to come.
  • Also – realise their looks come at a HUGE price – no social life, no love life, obsessive behaviour and a general lack of energy and lust for life – not to mention erectile disfunction!
  • And finally – stop comparing. Try if you can to see your body as a glorious gift that is more than JUST aesthetics. We lack perspective in today’s ‘body conscious’ society – so cultivate gratitude.

If this resonates please feel free to share – and of course reach out to me. It’s my mission to pass on my knowledge so that you can start living a happy, healthy life for good.

James x

Is It Time You Non-Conformed?

Engaging With Non-Conformity

When we work with clients one of the things we do is explore existing beliefs and values – so that we have a good idea of the mental filters that client has in place.

Why? Because our pre-conceptions and filters play a role in our own perception of our reality. My reality is different to your reality, and both are different from the actual truth. If we can look at our own reality dispassionately, then we have the power to change it.

Our amazing minds, in an effort to help us process the myriad of information flying at us, carry out a process of filtering renowned psychologist Chomsky broke down into: generalisations, deletions, distortions and personalisations.

For example, if my experience of going to a gym was that it was smelly, I didn’t like the machines, the PT I had was mean and nasty, and that after 2 weeks I got no results – then my filters are likely to round this up into “the gym doesn’t work for me”, or something similar.

This is a perception and clearly not a truth, but that perception is my truth. For now. This is where engaging with non-conformity comes in.

Now, by non-conformity I don’t mean slinging on tie-die clothes and heading off to live in a commune. In fact, I live in Ibiza where many of the ‘non-conformists’ actually all dress and act the same – they confirm to their own social norms. Their non-conformism has paradoxically become their own conformism.

What we are talking about is being prepared to challenge your own filters and beliefs. To “non-conform” with your own set of rules for the world. Why?

Because doing what you have always done is only ever going to get you what you’ve always got.

Fine if what you’ve got is working for you. If it’s not, you’re stuck.

So you need to be prepared to engage with your non-conformity, challenge your rules and beliefs and be prepared to change and grow.

Let’s look at the original example of the bad gym experience. If I’m prepared to challenge that I can reset my filters: “other people get results from going to the gym”, “I just didn’t know what I was doing last time, now I have an expert coach”, and so on.

Be prepared to look at your filters, really look, accept them without judgement and see your own reality as it is with the rules you have put in place.

Take a look at your life and see what filters might be holding you back, and where engaging with non-conformity might give you the opportunity to learn and grow.

With love

James

If I train more, will I get better results?

“If I train more, will I get better results?”

We get asked this all the time. How much should I train. Should I train more to get better results?

The very simple answer is that you should try to move your body every day.

However, the in-depth answer is a more complex. For best results you really should structure your week based on goals and lifestyle.

So what’s your goal?

Are you looking to lower body fat, add muscle, get fitter or a combination?

Next be realistic. How many times a week would you like to train, and for how long. There’s no point committing to a 2 hour training session 6 days a week if you’ve only got 20 minutes twice a week.

FYI….as a minimum you want to be training for 20 minutes, three times a week. Ideally with a day of rest in between each session.

Now onto how you might structure a week…

If your goal is to get fitter and or strip body fat, you might want to focus on a HIIT workout twice a week with one resistance circuit. Or just straight out HIIT three times a week, say on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

If you’d like to condition the muscles for a lean strong look and blast body fat, then an option could be to go for 2 resistance sessions a week, say Tuesday and Thursday, with HIIT 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

If adding mass is your goal, then focus on more resistance training and less HIIT and cardio. If you’re going to do full body workouts then 2 to 3 times a week with a day of rest between. Or you can split into push and pull movements and do 4 sessions a week. Or break it down into body parts and do a part a day (yes the options might seem endless!)

FOR MOST PEOPLE…
Mixing up 2 to 3 HIIT sessions with 2 to 3 resistance training sessions three times a week is going to get you awesome results.

But, remember everyone is different. Listen to your body and track your results over a decent amount of time so you can see what works for you.

People tend to give up on a workout programme too early. Always give it at least 2 weeks before you decide to change it. But do change your programme completely every 6 to 8 weeks as your body will adapt and your progress will plateau.

A final word…
Don’t forget to add in some of what you love – a run at the weekend, a long walk, a bike ride and do try to get outdoors at least once a week.

OK, a final, final word!
Remember, if you’re easing back into training after time off, or you’re new to it, take it steady. At the other end of the spectrum, more can be less. Overtraining will see you going backwards and becoming ill. Recovery is as important as the exercise.

How can we support you?
In our Academy, we have a bunch of 4 week training programmes which our members follow. They’re also great for learning how to put together, and formulate your own plan.

On our retreats we’ll aim to get you through as many different types of workouts and methodologies as we can (with recovery time!) so that you have the knowledge and tools to go home with. We also give you a follow up training plan.

And if you do want some more personalised help and support, please get in touch as we take on a handful of clients each month to work with on a one to one basis.

38nacademy.com

Time To Get Your Sweat On – Looking After Your Relationship

Exercise and decent nutrition can be game changer in a relationship.

💥OK so this is a little controversial…..💥

❗️LOOKING AFTER YOUR BODY DEMONSTRATES SELF RESPECT❗️

AND QUITE FRANKLY….THAT’S DAMN SEXY.

When we first get together with someone, we want to be our best. We make an effort.

🤯 As time goes by, life sh*t gets in the way. We have stressful jobs, family lives, financial concerns.

It’s totally understandable that looking after ourselves goes on the back burner.

🖤 But here’s something to consider. Not only is it not great for you, but it’s not great for your relationship.

Or how your partner sees you.

Yes I told you this this is controversial.

After all – your partner should love you and fancy you no matter what. And of course that’s true. It most definitely shouldn’t be a deal breaker (and there may be reasons you can’t exercise due to illness etc)

🗣 BUT I’m talking to people that are healthy and able. But choose to do NOTHING to change their circumstance.

You may not like what I have to say, but is it possible that you’re hiding from the plain, hard, cold truth that it’s simply not attractive when someone gives up on themselves?

🔺 Imagine this. Subject A. You berate yourself in the mirror. You call yourself fat all the time. You have zero energy. You don’t want to have sex because you hate getting undressed in front of your partner (and yes this entire post applies to BOTH men and women).

You complain about being unwell and overweight but you sit there every night stuffing your face with a take away in front of the TV (and you take the car everywhere)

🔺 Now….subject B.
Same situation. But B finds the courage to reach out and seek help. You begin getting up 20 minutes earlier three times a week to exercise. You take a packed lunch to work instead of eating in the canteen. You make a stand and quit the excuses.

⭐️ A stays stuck. B develops new habits.

⭐️ A’s confidence dwindles. B’s expands.

With this in mind, can we see how the self love and discipline that comes with B’s approach might begin to positively affect their relationship (and many other areas of their life…?)

⚡️It’s empowering. Sexy. In control.⚡️

And we don’t think there’s a decent relationship out there that wouldn’t benefit from a bit of that stuff.

Better still. Start moving your asses together. Make it a shared interest. Release some feel good endorphins. Show each other you think you’re worth it.

🚫🚫🚫🚫
It’s not too late. You’re not too old. And you haven’t been together too long to change.

Much love,
Claire xx
(and James of course!)

PS: James and I have seen the positive effects first hand. Time and again lovely couples come to our retreats and we see them transform in front of our eyes.

They see each other in a new light. Stronger, fitter and more determined. Going outside their comfort zone in a way the other one didn’t think was possible.

If you’re interested and want to take the bull by the horns(!), we have spaces available on our March retreat (7-10).

We’d love to see you there.

thirtyeightdegreesnorth.com
38nacademy.com

#traintogetherstaytogether #selfpride #endorphins #noexcuses

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