One thing I've loved about blogging is meeting new people, and one of my fave friend finds from 2015 is the gorgeous Janine from Blonde Ambitionz. Janine's blog has some fantastic reviews, fitness tips and recipes so definitely give her blog a follow. This girl loves the gym and her food as much as me, which I guess is why we just hit it off, so I was thrilled when Janine kindly asked me to team up with her to do some top tips for 2016. We've come up with 20 to share with you so enjoy...
The Blonde one says...
1) Organise your life - I got 3 diaries this Christmas, I plan to use all 3. Diary 1 – Work holidays, meetings, blah blah. Diary 2 – Personal bits, birthdays, addresses, planned nights out. Diary 3 – my work out schedule, days I plan to see my boyfriend Gym, what activities are going to make me sweaty so I can track what I’m doing, switching it up, changing my routine every 4-6 weeks to ensure I don’t plateau.
2) Detox negative energy - Unfortunately we live in a world where so few people genuinely want you to succeed. Or they want you to be successful, but not as successful as them. These are the kind of people that plant seeds of doubt in your mind because their lives are full of self-doubt. Make a conscious decision to distance yourself from anyone that has a mentally negative impact on you. Aint nobody got time for that!
3) Don’t be afraid to go it alone - I work out for two reasons. 1) for a healthier physique 2) mental therapy. Gym time is my ultimate ‘me time’ and for that reason 80% of the time I happily train alone. Every so often it’s nice to train with someone - learn something new, but you don’t Need to have a gym partner to hold your hand along the way and it’s not healthy to depend on someone else to keep in line with your schedule.
4) Invest in your gym wardrobe - Like you needed an excuse to shop… ;0) It’s proven (by me) that the more comfortable you are in what you’re wearing the less attention you will pay to how you look over what you’re doing in the gym. Besides if you train 5-6 days a week, wearing the same old thing gets a little dull… give yourself options. Always opt for comfort flexible attire and watch out for those evil camel toe leggings!!
5) Remember, you are not on a diet - if you really want to get fit and healthy, it is a lifestyle. It is choices you will make day after day, when you reach your targets you then have to maintain. There is no quick fix; it takes dedication and mindful behaviour.
6) Eating out – Lunch meetings, dates, nights out with the girls, with busy social lives and hungry tummies its tough not to let your eyes be instantly drawn to buffalo wings and fries whilst profusely drooling. I recommend a good cheat meal once a week to shake your metabolism up and help you get passed those cravings. The rest of the week there will always be plenty options to eat clean on the go, it’s just a case of looking for them. Quite often restaurants will happily cater for your macro requirements, so don’t be afraid to ask the waiter to hold the creamy peppercorn sauce on the steak or swap the fries for sweet potato wedges.
7) Utilizing Social Media - Instagram and Youtube have been just amazing motivators and sources for inspiration. Sharing my story through this blog and social media has helped me keep on track, record my progress and find like-minded friends that are experiencing the same daily challenges as me. The amount of work out tips, recipes I have found through Youtube never fails to keep me inspired.
8) My Fitness Pal – by far my favourite application, you can scan the foods you’re eating or add them by ingredient and it calculates the macro’s and calories against targets that you set by putting in your weight/weight loss goals. Use this alongside some form of calorie burning monitor like the Polar heart rate watch and you can balance what you eat against what you burn. I even use my fitness pal now that I’ve reached my weight goal and am gaining muscle mass. Purely to ensure that I’m eating enough calories. If I don’t eat enough I don’t allow myself to work out. Simples.
9) Just smile – sometimes it’s a genuine smile; sometimes it’s a poker face. Either way, if your smiling, the world smiles back and somehow everything just seems that little bit better. Promise. ‘Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain.’
10) Believe you can, and you will. (I’m changing my name to cat woman by dipole tomorrow)
And from me...
11) Don't Sweat the small stuff - Make a promise to yourself to not get caught up in small dramas, worrying over little things you don't have any control over or the way other people might behave towards you. Not only does it risk distracting you from achieving your goals, cortisol levels rise when you're stressed, which is not a friend of fat loss. Breathe and let it go.
12) Stand More - For someone desk-bound from 8 until late (let's face it, 9-5 doesn't exist), this one is actually surprisingly challenging. Whether you're a fit & active person or not, I firmly believe this is one of the most obvious but kindest things you can do for your body and countless studies show how bad it is for us to be sat on our bums all day long. Stand up every hour for just a couple of minutes at minimum, have a move around and activate your muscles and joints. You haven't got to start busting out lunges in the middle of the office, but a bit of movement will be gratefully received by your body.
13) Try something new every month - Whether it's a new class at your gym, having a go on a new piece of equipment, a new recipe (or even a new food), or a new running route, embrace the new! It helps keep you pushing boundaries, builds confidence (crucial in training) & the chances are you'll unlock a load of great new things in your world.
14) Keep your bladder on its toes - This is basically 'drink plenty of water' in disguise. We all know we should be doing it, but if you consider it'll help you greatly with achieving Tip 2, it's like two birds and one stone. Hydration is so important to your body, concentration levels, skin, the works. Seriously, get sipping. There are apps to help remind you, but my best tip is get yourself a nice water bottle, keep it topped up all day, and don't let it leave your side!
15) Stretch, rattle & roll - For those regularly training, the best possible recovery from your sessions - whether strength training or cardio - is a combination of dynamic stretches to warm up and static stretches to cool down. But, give yourself a rattle and roll too. The rattle is from a power plate, if you have access to one at your local gym. Ask someone to show you how to get started if you're not sure, but I've found them to be hugely beneficial after long legs & back sessions. Sitting your aching glutes on a vibrating plate is top drawer! And finally, my favourite - foam rolling! You can pick one up for about £15 from Amazon, but it's fifteen quid well spent as far as your recovering muscles are concerned. It's a pleasurable discomfort, and allows you to apply a bit more pressure than you'd be able to apply yourself.
16) Rest regularly - Yep, you heard me. I'm the worst person to be around on a rest day, I get so restless (ironically). But it's so valuable to your body. Personally, I'd say that we should write off at least 1 if not 2 days a week to rest. By all means, go for a walk - you don't need to sit still. But leave the weights and the running shoes alone. They need rest too ;)
17) Ditch the food detox - Temptation to throw your body through some kind of cleansing programme will never be more rife than at this time of year. But it's better to come up with a sustainable, longer term, healthier eating programme. I like the 80/20 split of 80% whole (or 'clean') foods, with 20% of the cheekier stuff. Some people like a cheat day, I stave off the sweet cravings by allowing myself a bit of something each day, so long as it doesn't account for more than 20% of my daily macros. A detox is a short term fix, and you'll probably find yourself binging on stuff the moment it's over, because you've gone through a period of deprivation. Just cut back the sugary treats to a minimum, rather than cutting out 100% - and remember that most sweet stuff is empty calories (even when it tastes damn good!)
18) Be a swapper - Instead of cutting things out of your life altogether and making yourself miserable, swap things out. Courgetti was a buzzword in 2015, and I'm sure it's here to stay as a replacement for oodles of noodles or plenty spaghetti. Get spiralling! I can't (and won't) give up flavoured syrups for coffee, so I swapped the sugary ones for TRKG's Jordan's Skinny Syrups. They come in all manner of flavours and have zero calories. Starbucks, who?!
19) Plastic fantastic - One of the main reasons I used to fail to prep wasn't actually not having the right ingredients, it was the faff of finding matching lock & lock boxes and lids, having the right size. Treat yourself to some new Tupperware, and make sure you've got all manner of sizes and shapes for meals, snacks, breakfasts to hand. Give yourself no reason to shirk the prep!
20) Work it out - One of my greatest lessons learned in my last 6 months of training is the importance of working out your plan before you step onto the gym floor. Be clear with yourself what you're going to do, what rhythm patterns, set patterns, areas of the body, rest periods you'll take etc. Having a plan will help motivate you to get onto the gym floor and know exactly what you're going to achieve, and save you from bunking off between sets ;)