Day 53 Take pressure off yourself!

Many people started this challenge with a bang, and achieved great things in the first month, and some have started well, then fallen off a bit, and now are bang on course to achieve big things of course. Whatever your situation, I don’t think it is realistic at all to expect you to be perfect all the time, that simply isn’t possible!

It’s always good to take the pressure off at times, and you will realise by now that 12 weeks is quite a long period of time to give your very best effort.

This is why I give everyone a 80% target on eating good natural food. I gave you a target of 8 out of 10 in each workout you do, because 10 out of 10 is highly unlikely each time.

If you manage to get these kinds of averages in, you’re going to be classed as working amongst the top percentage, and pretty much guaranteed to reach your goals in your programme in a relatively quick period of time.

Putting undue pressure on individuals to do well has never been a tactic I’ve considered successful. I remember in my teens, we had a captain in our cricket team who would berate you if you bowled slightly off the mark, or it wasn’t your day when you batted you would have a verbal outburst directed at you.

 Hammering someone because they weren’t performing at their best proved to be a potentially damaging tactic to myself and destroyed my confidence.

I remember another captain years later who would always give me a reassuring pat on the back if I was having a bad day, and told me that he was sticking with me no matter what. The result? My game and confidence came back sooner than I thought, and that meant my performance was up to its normal standard very quickly and that reassuring pat on the back helped me an enormous amount, and put a spring back in my step.

All of us need someone to show confidence in us from time to time, and you have seen it on this site with some members seemingly be at all time low’s recovering to be at all time high’s in just over a week sometimes!

 I tend to use the tried and tested method of showing great encouragement when someone is a bit down, and having a harder time than usual. I’m in the business of getting the very best out of people, and less is more sometimes!

So when you are looking to assess your progress so far, try and look at the big picture.

If you are getting it right most of the time, then there’s no problem and your condition will be improving naturally.

If your food and training is all over the place, and you’ve gone back to your old ways, then you need to reassess your priorities, and ask yourself if you really want to be in the best shape of your life, or not?

Answering this question honestly will help motivate you to take immediate action, and make you realise if you have put too much pressure on yourself, or too little even?

The focus should not only be on this 12 weeks, but creating the trends and patterns that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Nobody’s perfect all the time, so if your lifestyle is healthier now than when you started, you are still making steady progress, then that’s perfectly acceptable to me and keep having confidence in your abilities, that is the vital element you always need!

Day 52 pain versus pleasure

Day 52 Pain versus pleasure

We all have this choice every day in our lives, and making the right choice is critical at it will usually shape our future.

If a couple of weeks ago like jean, you were frustrated by the scales and whatever you seemed to do, the scales wouldn’t come down, then the easiest thing in the world would have been to wrap it in.

 This is avoiding the pain that you think will permanently be there if you carry on what you’re doing, so you go for pleasure instead and that could be instant gratification of fish and chips you haven’t had for a while? It could be a bottle of wine, it could be two bags of crisps, it could a big huge tub of Joe’s ice cream, whatever it is, that idea of pleasure in that precise moment seemed highly attractive!

Through looking at the reality of her progress once again, jean realised that the scales were not reality, and there were in fact lots of positives she has achieved so far, enough to carry on with the programme and not only that, but to have the confidence to raise her performance several notches, to a level she hasn’t been for years.

 This is now HER pleasure, the joy of feeling out of this world and making rapid physical improvements that take her back in time almost!

So you can see, the power of pain and pleasure can literally shape your destiny.

The feeling of throwing it all in must have happened to all of you at times, and it’s interesting to find out what keeps you going.

It’s also interesting to see what happens when you do “come off the wagon”, the way you feel after a binge on food or alcohol, or both! Most of you tell me that all of that sugary/fatty food actually makes you feel sick now, gives you a bad stomach and even headaches! This is actually a positive sign!

A positive sign in the fact that your body has now become used to good, natural healthy food, and it doesn’t tolerate “chemical experiments” going off in your body any more with all that junk you used to put in. Your body wants to be “looked after” now and wants the good life!

The idea of working out through the most icy and snowy January and February for some time has been off-putting, and even seemingly impossible for some. Those of you that managed it probably worked through the pain and got the instant pleasure afterwards when you had a bath or shower, knowing deep inside that you had improved yourself that day, and you actually felt better because you got some fresh air in your body, which as you know by now gets rid of dead cells and regenerates your body.

The pain of doing 84 days straight on this challenge is too much for some before they start, this is “too long” they say, but how can 84 days seem too long if it changes your life for good?

Those of you in day 52 today will be thankful you have made it this far, and have that warm feeling inside again because you know you have found new things out about yourself again, overcome all those challenges I have thrown you, and are still here to tell the tale!

 This should now give a lot of pleasure because you know you now have a diary of success, the fact that you’re still here means you are becoming truly successful, and are beginning to master the emotions that have troubled you in the past, and not allowed you to become the person you really wanted maybe?

Pain and pleasure are facts in life, but using them to our own advantage and not taking the easiest option every time are great strategies that allow us to become our true selves, and finally achieve what we know we are capable of.

Day 51 Use your imagination and let’s mix it up!

Day 51

One of the reasons why some people give up and some people keep with their exercise programmes is down to flexibility and variety. I’m not talking about stretching or anything such thing, I’m talking about being flexible with your workouts, and if you can’t do your scheduled workout, then do a variation of what you were aiming to do in the first instance.

For example, if you were planning to run for 30-40 minutes, and somehow you only had 10-15 minutes, and were still focused on great progress, I would rush over to the nearest most vicious looking hill, and hammer 6 sprints forwards, and 6 sprints backwards, each for a total of 30 yards of so. If you go flat out, you WILL get a great workout in!

Jean asked about interval training, should she do it? I think Jean already knows the answer, of course you should jean and show everyone what you can do! I always say that most people are only limited by their imagination when it comes to training variety.

Jean is talking about interval training, which could be described easily as jogging between one lamppost, then sprint the next post, then jog the next, then sprint the next one and so on. Now THIS is a workout that you will struggle to last more than 5 minutes each time, it is that intense!

Now we are starting to use our minds for our workouts, please don’t end up like some mindless zombie doing boring treadmill runs all the time, PLEASE, PLEASE vary it, not only because it brings great results doing different workouts, but freshens up your mind too!

One word of caution before doing ANY type of sprint work. In my experience, it is always advisable to do some kind of warm up before you sprint flat out, the always present threat of pulling a hamstring or groin never goes away, and the more weight you carry, the bigger danger there is. I’m not being prejudiced there, I’m just saying that I’ve done a million sprint sessions, and although you will get massive benefits from the session, the goal should also be not to get injured, in which case you probably wouldn’t run for a month at least!

The different ways of training are literally endless, and although you must still have a good structure in place, any type of workout is good as long as it’s safe and you’re capable of doing it. The more experienced you are, the more options you should have and as you should realise by now, it’s not simply a case of training for longer the fitter you are, that’s simply not true. It’s about doing “higher quality” training sessions in the time to suit you, and as long as you are improving physically, that’s a great sign surely you are doing all the right things.

Always stick to your fitness standards and we all have our benchmarks on how we are doing. Most people training with me may have a very tough hill as a benchmark, if they can do that consistently, they know they are in great shape. If you can do 40 press ups in one go, and your new limit is just 25, you know you have been slipping and you need to re-examine what you’re doing.

Being in shape physically and mentally can be easier than you think, as long as you know what your good standard in life is, and you try your best to stay there, even through the highs and lows that life often brings.

Day 50

Day 50

The half-century mark so a huge well done on those of you are sticking with the programme, congratulations and you should be proud of your efforts! You should be showing some serious improvements by now if you have given this at least 80% of your best efforts, that’s what it takes to be in the condition you really want!

So what better time to talk to those of you that have questioned yourself on the way, about could you do it in the first place, and why weren’t you losing so much on the scales throughout? Those of you who questioned yourself about could you really stick an exercise programme this long? Those of you who really wonder whether you can make it to this mystical day 84, can you really do it?

Okay, lets answer all these “mysteries”?!!!!

Let’s take the group I train in Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins in Llantrisant, in fact I was up there today putting them through their paces.

Let me say that this group has only been training for around 8 weeks, and they have been doing amazingly well, and if I revealed some of their measurements, they would blow you away on how well they have changed their body’s and the way they feel.

All of these measurements are confidential and I would never mention names but here’s some examples.

One lady has lost two stone in two months. Eight and half inches off her waist and seven and a half inches off here waist. She has applied herself tremendously and overcome challenges that she had to produce a great result that she and her family are rightfully proud of.

Another lady has lost a stone, and nearly seven inches off her waist and hips, and feel like her life has changed for the better in a big way, yet is still seeking more and more changes which she is very capable of.

All the  group has lost inches off their waist and hips, and those inches have been substantial throughout so I’m proud of their obvious big changes.

Then, those who haven’t lost so much weight doubt themselves about their progress, but when they see how many inches off their waist and hips they have lost and their clothes are much better, they soon forget about the scales as it tends to be such a negative measuring tool for many of us (as we have discussed more or less every day!!).

Those in the group who ask why they haven’t lost as much as the others, are asked are they really, truly honest about their food intake, are they still bingeing, are they still drinking more than they should, are they adding sauces to their foods, are they putting salt on their foods, are their portions sizes bigger than they should be, are they putting their workouts in and to their standard they know they can work to, are the workouts being progressed as I encourage, are the exercises being done properly, is there some walking being done or even running for those who feel they can do it?!!

Already you can see I ask some detailed questions if someone’s potential is not being reached and it pays to be honest, because I’m going to get it out of you sooner rather than later, and its in your best interests to tell the truth to yourself, because without the truth, we are unlikely to move forward and get you to look and feel your best .

So you can see there are no mysteries for you all out there, if there are, they may actually be in your own head. I am providing answers every day on here, and although I bring up the uncomfortable truth for some of you sometimes, its because I want all of you to reach your potential and do amazing things with your health and fitness, and from this you will always develop a level of mental strength that may have been previously unimaginable!

There’s no mysteries for any of you on how to get into your best shape but doesn’t mean you have to stop asking questions on why, in fact I encourage it because we are all learning after all, and we are here to help each other.

Remember I talked about the blind gentleman tuning the school piano in a previous post? Well, its like that for most of you, you don’t do just one workout, or eat well for one day and expect to be in great shape, its constant re-tuning your body and doing it until the best you can be, in fact, it lasts a lifetime and the better shape you get in, the more enjoyable it becomes, ask anyone!

Consistency is the key so let’s nail it again this week and happy day 50 to all of you!!

Day 49 The 4 minute solution!

Since we have hammered the point about not making excuses so far, we have hammered the fact that you need to take action, we have beat the drum on really training with purpose, we have pushed the fact that 80% of the time you need to be eating well and the good, fresh natural foods that are going to serve you well.

What happens if truly circumstances don’t allow you that day to put in your scheduled workout?

Here’s the best way to look at it. If you are really struggling, is something better than nothing? Of course it is!

Look at it from this perspective and you have to go back to the start to appreciate your starting point. When you first started training and 10 squat thrusts, 5 press ups, 8 arm dips etc could have been your standard, with breaks this workout could well have taken 20-25 minutes if you had taken your time if you did 3 circuits.

Now your standard may well be 80 squat thrusts, 25 press ups, 25 arm dips and another 3-5 exercises too in the same workout. Now this is mightily more impressive of course, and your body now is performing to impressive levels.

So one day when you’re trying to train, the kids are super busy, work is calling, the phone is ringing and everything in your day or week is going wrong, how do you get around that?

The value of doing ONE circuit at maximum intensity cannot be underestimated, and one circuit will take 4 minutes if you really push it and cram in the big exercises (squat thrusts, press ups, arm dips along will be good). Say your previous best was 25 press ups and for 3 circuits, chances are you will be able to do at least 30-35 or even more in ONE go, therefore expanding your abilities and reaching a NEW standard, all in 4 minutes or less!

Is 4 minutes enough? You know i encourage you all to work for 3 circuits which takes around 20-25 minutes which is still pretty intense i think you will agree. However, that maximum effort for 4 minutes will be enough to get your metabolism burning at a higher rate for that day, and will mean you get closer to your goals which is always good. I will repeat it again, if you beat your previous best, you have set a new personal best. Even if you don’t, you will have still done a very positive amount for your physical condition and got your metabolism racing and burning calories at an accelerated rate, and then you can get straight back to the trials of life!! How’s that sound?!

For example, my hardest cycle of the week was my ride from my house to sandy water park and back once a week, kind of a time trial where i judged my own personal fitness standards, if i was over 22 minutes, i was out of shape, if i was under 20 minutes, my condition was very good indeed. My best workout of the week and 20 minutes? That’s a fact.

I think the misconception is sometimes we all have to be in the “right workout clothes”, have the ipod looking trendy hanging from our arms, and wearing the right “shades! That’s absolutely not the case and some of the fittest people i know have some of the oldest workout gear there is, but they have an amazing attitude that would put some of these “poser’s” to shame. In fact, most of these show off’s lack any real fitness conditioning because they concentrate on looking the part, instead of really getting stuck in there and having an amazing workout!

Great workouts are about improving or at least doing your best, whatever the circumstances we have that day. Nobody i know has “all day” to exercise, that person doesn’t exist, at least i’ve never met them (and i’ve met a lot of people who some people think they have “all the time in the world)  and that way of training is the least productive anyway.

Nobody trains for 6 hours a day, nobody does that apart from pro cyclist in season so don’t let the papers and magazines fool you time after time, this way of training DOES NOT HAPPEN with these so called celebrities and actors, they are not only not capable of it, but where does that time come from!!!!

Whatever your circumstances, i think 4 minutes as an emergency measure is not too much to ask to make sure your body still gets a workout and still allows you to make progress on this challenge, and for the rest of your life?!!

Another big excuse taken care of!

Have a great sunday and let’s get going again!