You are not the only person concerned about body image.

Every person in the developed world thinks about their body image at least once a week- posititively or negatively.

I saw an advert for a beauty cream- that claimed it could remove your bodies ‘imperfections’ the other day and I was pretty angry about the message it was sending- in the eyes of big companies you will never be perfect in your own skin. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to sell anything to you.

This needs to change.

If you aren’t looking at yourself in the mirror and being totally happy in your skin- then it has huge knockon effects that can have lethal consequences, all the way up to depression. Millions of women and men across the world are fed the image that they are not good enough, that only them spending their money on the latest cream gives them any right to breath in our planets oxygen.

This, of course is not true. It’s also not to say that your body is perfect, you may well be in need of curbing a certain food or losing a few pounds. But when you look at yourself, you need to see the unfinished canvas and recognise that you have every right to the body that you want. The hardest part is the thought process, one of my favourite qoutes from a coach is “The more you succeed in habit, life and competition, the more habitual success becomes. Prove to yourself repeatedley that you have the courage and ability to overcome obstacles”.

Fit shaming is also a thing…

Unfortunately shamers also target those that take great pride in their appearance- this tends to happen more amongst women. Women that are hugely keen on weightlifting and being strong often hear things like “You look like a man” or “I wouldn’t date a girl that can lift more than me”. If you’ve ever heard that then you have my support, you have the right to feel great in your own skin.  It is very easy to consider yourself inadequate, or not as good as those you see on magazine covers. It is very hard to put yourself in your own compartment. To worry about your own body and not what everyone else thinks is the hardest thing to do.

I find that it helps to spend some time alone with my head, observe the traffic of your mind. Don’t try and run through it. Get in tune with how you feel and what drives you, at the end of the day all the external factors that make up your own body image are the least important. The most important is what goes on in your head.

The more you succeed in habit, life and competition, the more habitual success becomes. Prove to yourself repeatedley that you have the courage and ability to overcome obstacles.

Advertisements

Weight training: Overcoming adversity

I had one of those days recently, a culmination of tiredness and fatigue that just makes you feel like you don’t want to do anything. The ones where you feel lethargic and I didn’t want much food- it’s a horrible and unexplainable phenomenon that plagues most of us. We all want success in our lives- in some form. Whether it’s financial, physical or professional. The true path to success lies in being able to show to yourself that you can overcome adversity in every day life. Life is full of tough breaks and times that push resilience and make you feel like quitting.

Weight training (or any kind of tough training) is not only beneficial for the skeletal, muscular and cardiovascular systems. But it is also a chance to showcase your own ability to yourself.

Life is about repeatedly showing yourself that you have the ability and courage to overcome everyday obstacles

I use this time to do things that I don’t want to do, Squatting at maximal level for 5 repetitions is tough, and sometimes nauseating. But the result is that my mental toughness improves. When I have a bad day I know it’s just one in a line, I know that life is about repeatedly showing yourself that you have the ability to overcome obstacles. Overcoming adversity is not a cure for never having bad days. It is an additional mental weapon to fight the Dragons and demons that seek to get inside your head every day. Build mental toughness and you will be able to shout louder than the voice inside your head, telling you you’re no good, that you’re not special.

Run until your lungs burn

Punch until your vision is blurry

Push. Everyday. For greatness

What you think is what you get.

 

Back pain is a thing of the past with this method

What causes back pain?

We’ve all had some issues with back pain or pain in the joints at some point in our lives, a fact which seems to become more of an issue as we get older.

Continue reading “Back pain is a thing of the past with this method”

Building from the ground up: Strength Foundation

Whether you are a seasoned trainee or you are just starting out in the gym- it’s important to know the principles that will govern results. Prinicpally what we are concerned with here is being able to add weight onto the bar. The simple way to see progress in the weight room is to see whether you can lift more than the previous session, this is how we know we’ve had an improvement in strength.

There are three categories when it comes to trainees training with weights- Novice, intermediate and advanced Trainees. Someone who  has been training for 5 years may think they are an intermediate trainee, but can still benefit from some novice techniques. Most people will fall within the novice catergory- simply because they have not followed the proper techniques and may have started to lose results in the process, also becauuse the further you up the chain the more specialised you will see. For example more intermediate trainees and definitely advanced, will be athletes and thsoe in sports teams.

A simple way to know if you are within the Novice catergory is- can you add weight onto the bar after 2/3 days of rest? If so it is not a big problem, it simply means you have somewhere to start.

For a novice program I would look at training the whole body in every session- it is the easiest way to ensure that all bases are covered, and if your goal is to get stronger or lose weight then there is no need to start doing different body parts on different days.

To get you started:

Three times a week

Monday:

Bench Press 3 sets of 5 reps

Squat 3 sets of 5 reps

Deadlift (only once a week) 1 set of 5 reps.

Wednesday: As above (no deadlift)

Friday: As above (no deadlift)

That is a very basic program for someone who would be a beginner- what this will do is set the trainee into a habit of training and introduce the body to weightlifting, after that you can play with other variables like frequency and other exercises, but the overall program should revolve around the main core lifts that the body can do. These are

Squat

Bench

Deadlift

Overhead press

(Pull) Chin up

The alst two can be itnroduced into the program once the trainee has progress pas a specific point- that being when they can manage the new movements. Further down the line the trainee can be introduced to further movements such as Olympic based movements as well accesssory movements with Dumbbells.

EPOC: Your secret to weight loss

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC)

EPOC in a nutshell is when you train so hard that you body has to produce energy anaerobically (without oxygen). The result is that your body is then in a deficit of oxygen that it will continue to metabolise a few hours after the session has finished.

In short, that means Fat is being metabolised when you’re relaxing at home! 

So how can this be done?

I won’t lie to you, this method of training is hard. EPOC training requires extreme effort and should not be tried if you are under medication for any of the following: High blood pressure, pregnancy, physical disabilities (that impair coordination) etc. The reason for this is that you are disrupting your bodies “Homeostasis”. Homeostasis is defined as optimal conditions for your body to live in (temperature, hydration etc). Whenever this is done there are finite amounts of time that you can withstand being outside of those levels.

In the case of exercise you’re attacking your bodies ability to de-toxify the blood of Pyruvate (lactic) acid. This is a substance that builds up during high intensity exercise and causes the continuation of exercise to become harder and harder. An example of this is doing sprints, you will be able to sprint maximally for about 10-15 seconds. That goes for athletes at elite level too. As the level of acid increases, performance level will decrease rapidly. At this point your body will change its energy system preference to more aerobic (with oxygen) to try and facilitate recovery.

We do not want to switch to the aerobic training systems as this will change the way that the deficit builds up. EPOC intervals require us to work maximally for 10-15 seconds and then rest. This could be a set of heavy squats or sprints, followed by a rest period of 2-3 minutes.

The more time you spend ‘without’ oxygen, the more time you spend rebuilding the deficit using Fat as an energy source later on. Coupled with a nutritious energy source to replace the nutrients you have expended. What you have is a pretty reliable source of weight loss.

Why doesn’t everyone do EPOC if it’s so good?

People don’t want to push themselves in most cases, or don’t know how to. It takes a strong effort to get yourself to a point where you are pushing limits. That is ultimately what it comes down to. Are you willing to push yourself to your limits? If you are then the EPOC system is what you need to try. Check out my post on the Tabata Training system aswell. Tabata is another way to faciliate Excess post-excersise oxygen consumption.

How to (help) stay motivated

Staying motivated can be one of the hardest challenges to maintaining an exercise program or a diet.

Many people find they start with the highest intentions but other things seem to just get in the way, despite your best intentions.

The underlying theme of this is the Trans theoretical Model, which is an illustration of how behaviour change happens with individuals. Most tend to sit in the “Active change- relapse” part of the cycle, which is why you never ‘lose that weight’ or start eating healthily. Your habits are too adapted to the contrary.

The way to break this cycle and stay on the ‘maintenance’ cycle with your decision, is to start building habits. Treat this as if you’re training an animal (the principle is the same) the work must be divided equally between work and reward- there must be a suitable reward (whatever you deem suitable) otherwise you will not continue the habit have a look at this Link for an example.

As it says the 3 R’s are: Reminder, Routine and Reward.

Setting reminders is important, I have done this before in the form of a quote from my future self,

which said “I wish I had done more” and then underneath it said “Will this be you?”. I stuck this above my bed so that whenever I went to sleep and when I woke up, I saw it. Before long that fear of letting your future self down permeates into your psyche. Find a way to remind yourself to take action- so that you can build the routine.

Routine and reward go hand in hand, find a way to reward yourself and make it definite before you start, there can be no exceptions if the plan is flimsy then the action will be flimsy. For example I currently divide my week up between study, training time and my reward is to have an evening or two playing some games with my friends. Don’t overload the reward as it then becomes arbitrary.

One of my favourite quotes is from Sir Edmund Hilary- “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”.