GYM & TONEIC

New Year’s resolutions: do’s & don’ts

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New Year, new chances, same you, just a few tweaks here and there… this notion of a ‘new you’, come New Year is a load of sh#t! Something I’ve come to realise, accept and embrace. You’re not going to turn into someone else overnight, you’re not going to turn into someone else full stop. You are you, I am me. We all need to stop day dreaming about being someone or something else, about total transformations and all or nothing overhauls. We all need to be a bit more forgiving, accepting and easy on ourselves.

It’s the second week in January and I’m sat here writing this post, a post that should really have been published and posted on my blog on the 1st, because it’s a fitness and lifestyle blog, and everyone is consuming content about New Year’s resolutions and complete fitness overhauls as soon as the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve/Day, (OK, maybe not quite 12 when the drinks are flowing and dancing is in full swing!), but you get what I mean! I’ve had a busy last few weeks moving in with my man and getting myself sorted with work in my new surroundings (The High Peak), and I took a trip down to Devon in-between Christmas and New Year. I’m just getting back on track and back into the swing of writing and planning content for my blog, and that’s OK… As is it totally OK to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions and goals now, if you dreamt up drastic and unrealistic goals on New Year’s Day and jacked them all in within the first week. Start now, start next week, give yourself time to contemplate and consider what you really want to attempt and achieve this year. Make a list of goals, dreams and desires as long as your arm and then chop them down in to a 1, 3 and even 5-year plan. Having dreams is a good thing, dreams can become reality… just be realistic with what you can achieve and by when. It’s OK just to have one goal… smash that and then focus on the next.

Here’s a few do’s & don’ts to consider if you’re yet to set yourself goals, or re-set yourself goals…

Do’s

Be kind on yourself. Before you tear yourself up and get depressed about all the things you think are bad about yourself, and that needs to change. Consider all the positives, what you like about yourself, your good qualities, how to do and be more of that! Less of the bad chat and dressing down, more bigging up and being body (and mind) positive.

Celebrate every tiny victory. You might have only lost 1lb this week and you wanted to lose 3lbs, the fact is you lost weight! You might have managed to complete an additional set, run another mile, lifted a heavier weight, whatever your victory give yourself a pat on the back, reward yourself even (there are still lots of January sales on!), make yourself a gold star chart like we had back in school.

Have a little fun. Resolutions and goals don’t all have to be about health and fitness, losing weight and placing restrictions on yourself. Have some fun, try new things, add to your life instead of taking all the fun away!

Don’ts

Deprive yourself. Starve yourself or buy into these bullsh#t, quick fix detoxes and diets. You’ll end up out of pocket and back where you started, maybe worse off in terms of weight gain. Just be sensible, wean yourself off 3 mince pies a day. Consider things like portion size, healthy food swaps, drinking water instead of wine.

Do too much too soon. Study your list that’s as long as your arm and then break it down, pick two or three goals to focus on, then break them down further. Set mini milestones and realistic timelines. Go all in, but on a few things at a time.

Give up! When the going gets tough, take a break, pause, reflect, refine and then carry on. It’s OK to tweak your goals, change timescales, move the goal posts. It’s your goal!

Don’t stop until you’re proud!

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Life update of late: June

life-update

I’ve been crap at blogging of late… I’ve got a list as long as my arm with ideas and topics I want to blog about, all noted down in a little black book (that’s red), that I carry around with me everywhere I go, also jotted down in my notes on my phone – I need to get more organised and STOP procrastinating!

I was on fire a month ago, studying and stressing over my PT exams, like my life depended on it (well it kind of did), no stopping me. I had my life mapped out, *massive LOL* that’s a total lie; I’ve ‘winged it’ every darn day! But in my head, I was quitting my full-time job to become a PT and buggering off into the sunset, to be a fitness instructor by a beach somewhere hot, sunny and exotic.

Feels like I’ve hit a wall over the last week or two, with regards to the next phase of my master life/career plans… I think it’s because I’m getting way ahead of myself, dreaming about where I want to end up, visualizing/fantasizing about my end goal, as opposed to focusing on the here and now, and the baby steps I need to take to make it happen. That or I’m too focused on what other people are doing, that are doing a similar thing that I want to do, but have 5/10/15+ years more experience than me in the fitness profession. I need to get back to focusing on me (the here and now) and get shit done!

What I have been up to since passing my PT

Lots of gym instructing, swimming instructing, shadowing PT’s, and more studying and swotting wherever I can. I’m loving being in the gym so much, devising exercise programmes for people to help them achieve their goals, being around so many supportive and encouraging PT’s and fitness professionals, that have been more than happy to share their experiences and knowledge with me, and not forgetting the awesome public, clients and customers, the Joe Bloggs gym users who I’m getting to know so well. Joe Bloggs no more… it’s amazing all the things you end up talking about, with what starts out as a complete stranger. I do have a tendency to talk for England and share waaay too much, but by opening up and sharing some of your story it creates a bond, and encourages others to do the same. You connect with people, find similarities and common ground, share experiences and offer support and advice, and this works both ways.

Shout out to some of the awesome people I’ve met so far… 

Martin; an awesome PT (ex-military) at The Gym Group in Bolton. I did two days training there whilst studying, Martin was my guinea pig. He offered to help and let me at him with callipers, showing me how to do body fat testing and so on. He offered to help me wherever he could, and since qualifying I’ve been back to shadow him PT and deliver his gruelling bootcamp sessions (military style!), the shadowing was active that day… I got a beasting, with two classes back-to-back.

Barry, Chantelle, Sophie and Zoe; the first few customers I devised exercise programmes for. Sorry again Chantelle for beasting you with squats and lunges, and making climbing stairs feel like climbing mountains! Your programme has been revised, we will regress and you will progress to be a squatting superhero!

Dave; a legend of a guy that I opened up to about all of my life plans and he gave the best advice ever, Mr Motivator! Gave loads of great tips on the best ways to apply for jobs and get yourself seen and heard, based on his own experiences. Said I should just go for it, pick a place and go, stop being so cautious and take more risks… not to wait until I have solid plans in place, make it happen along the way.

Phillipa; a new member that has recently moved to Ramsbottom, she works as a fitness instructor at Virgin Active. She’s been an instructor for many years, and as soon as I told her I was newly qualified she took me under her wing, offered me training tips and advice, and suggested we should train together. I have to admit when she told me she was an instructor my gut wrenched a little, with a feeling of intimidation, like I know nothing! But she couldn’t have been more encouraging and supportive.

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To do list…

  • One thing at a time – stop thinking about 20 things to do at once, doing little bits of everything and finishing nothing, getting way ahead of myself too soon!
  • Blog content plan – get my marketing head back on, get organised and pull together all these ideas in one place, Gantt chart stylee!
  • Draft a business plan – a loose plan at least, the what, where, when, how and who of what I want to achieve and do, to give me direction and more focus.
  • Decide on a location/s and be more focussed and specific with my quest for the sun and sea, or do what Dave said and just pack my bags and go!
  • Take more pictures to accompany blogs and use on social media – I am rubbish at this, major blogger faux pas. I need to invest in a decent camera at some point too, all recommendations welcome??

Procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Procrastination… it will sink in!

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Today is a good day!

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The impossible became possible! I passed my level 3 PT theory exams… YAY!

Chuffed to bits and so relieved, I can breathe again… well until Saturday, when I do my practical.

The pressure I’ve felt in the lead up is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, as everything in my ‘dream’ future is riding on this… I quit my job for this!

Stress, anxiety, fear, doubt, major doubt; is the toxic cocktail of emotions I’ve been swimming in for the last few weeks and months, since handing my notice in. Questioning my sanity, capabilities, life decisions (all of my life decisions to date for that matter…). I’ve looked like a walking corpse! So much so that my tutor/examiner said as much today, as I stood grey complexion, shaking like a leaf, waiting to go into the exam room.

I’m not a scientific thinker, I was crap at science at school, and the anatomy is bloody complex! So this has been no easy feat, no ‘winging it’ on this occasion. I’ve had to read everything hundreds of times for it to go in and ‘get it’, and I still don’t fully get it. I’m going to be studying and learning constantly from here on in… but I’m excited about that!

So that’s my good news for the day… fingers, toes and anything else that can be crossed, crossed for my practical exam on Saturday.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear!

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Saying goodbye…

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Friday 22 April marked the end of an era, my last day at British Cycling – sob! To take a stride, step, stumble into the unknown.

I still can’t believe I’ve done what I’ve done… Leaving my job for no job, who does that?! I’ve always been employed, from being 15 years old waiting on in restaurants, up until Friday last week! I’ve always had something lined up…

In the words of the late great Luther King, ‘I have a dream’, which may sound stupid to some, but my dream is to live beside the sea (wherever that may be), working as a fitness instructor (amongst other things). I don’t want to do one thing anymore and I don’t want to sit behind a desk 9am-5pm. I want variety, I want adventure, and I want to get back to delivery of sport and fitness – supporting people to improve their health & wellbeing and in turn improve my own!

Saying goodbye to such an awesome team of people last week broke me (there were gin tears too, from my very boozy leaving do the night before!). It’s always tough to leave the people over a job. Don’t get me wrong the job was great, and I can hand on heart say I learnt more in that marketing role than any other, but it was the people that made my time there most memorable! Working with such talented and creative individuals, on so many amazing projects and events was a blast! I’ll miss everyone so much…

I’m a big believer in fate and that everything happens for a reason. I started out working in the fitness industry many moons ago and I could’ve carried on with that, missing out Uni and all the other jobs in-between. Done the level 3 PT and all these other fitness qualifications over my degree, but the journey you take, people you meet and experiences you have along the way are what makes you. I have no regrets up until now, and this is how I would like my life to carry on.

So here I am, writing this post, first day of unemployment…

Time to hit the books hard and pass my PT!

Every new day is a chance to change your life. 

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Life: next chapter, new focus!

Quotes of encouragement and support shared by awesome friends and colleagues!

Last week I made some pretty big (scary) decisions about my future/career, with a bold and crazy move made to commit to it. I handed my notice in at work, signed up to do level 3 PT and asked my long suffering mum and dad if it was OK to move back home for a brief spell (I promise it will be brief mum!).  

At 31 taking steps backwards isn’t ideal, but needs must in order to move forwards in the direction I want to go. I don’t think I’m having a midlife crisis; it’s too early for that yet… surely!?

Going full circle…

Towards the back end of 2015 I decided I wanted to get back into leisure and instructing, a setting in which I started working life at the tender age of 16, as a leisure attendant and swimming instructor. I missed working with people and the buzz of a leisure centre environment; sitting behind a desk 9am-5pm wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I decided to do a level 2 Gym Instructing qualification, with intentions of picking up casual hours around my full-time job. This was the start of it… I did a few more qualifications at the beginning of this year, Kettlebell and Studio Cycle Instructor training, and decided I wanted to learn and do more. To get my foot in the door fully I needed to do my level 3 PT, and to become the best instructor I can be I need to focus on fitness full-time! Something had to give…

I’ve worked in sport most of my career, either delivering or promoting it. After studying a marketing management degree at University, I took on a marketing role at the leisure centres where I started out. Before moving on to British Cycling where I am now (well for the next four weeks), and have had the odd job in-between, but I’ve always come back to sport. It’s what I’m passionate about, it’s what I enjoy, it’s what I want to do for a living, with emphasis now being on the doing and delivering!

I start my level 3 PT this week, with Planetwes Training and following successful completion and pass (PMA), well that’s the unknown bit… stick around and see how it pans out.

Hugh Laurie

If not now, when?!

I don’t want to look back on my life and wish I’d done something different or given something a go when I had the opportunity. As it stands I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, a window of opportunity to make a change, so I’m doing it!

I’m lucky and thankful to have such supportive and encouraging friends and family, who give great advice and words of wisdom. Best advice my parents have given me growing up ‘try your best, that’s all you can do’ and ‘do what makes you happy’. Simple advice, but these words have stuck with me.

Scary and exciting times ahead… all positive vibes and words of encouragement most welcome.

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5 top tips to maintain your mojo

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Mid-January sees flocks of new faces hitting the gym, come early March it’s only the reliant regulars that remain. A cycle you see year in and out – great for sales targets, but that membership is an expensive piece of plastic in your wallet if unused.

Maintaining your mojo can be tough at times! We’re all human, have off days, weekend binges and fall off the bandwagon. The important thing is not to beat yourself up about it and throw the towel in.

Writing a list of New Year’s resolutions as long as your arm probably wasn’t the best idea, as was thinking you would tick them off in quick succession. Don’t despair, take stock and review your goals.

Here’s 5 top tips to get back on track…

  1. Tone it down

All too often people go from doing no exercise, to training every day. It’s New Year and you’re on fire – but it’s only a matter of time before you burn out. Tone it down, build it up gradually over time. Create a routine that fits in with your work/life schedule, this may mean making a few changes here and there, but it shouldn’t be so drastic that you can’t stick at it.

  1. Try something new

Mix it up, try different exercises, classes, sports and activities; the gym isn’t always the answer for everyone. Exercise should be fun and enjoyable! Try out as many different things as possible, until you find your mojo.

  1. Review your goals

Be honest… Are they realistic? Are they achievable? Do you actually want to do them, or did you get caught up and carried away with the new you notion? It’s OK to change track and review your goals – that’s life!

  1. Prep like a boss

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite saying this… This is my first to do to get back on track. Plan your weekly exercise sessions in advance, so you know what you’re doing on what day of the week. Create a workout log to track weights, reps/sets, distance and time, to show your progression.

  1. Ask the experts

Ask a fitness instructor for tips, guidance and support, that’s what they are there for. In many gym facilities you can get tailored exercise programmes or a PT session as part of your membership package – take advantage of this! They’ll talk you through and show you exercises suitable for your specific areas of focus, to meet your personal goals.

Got more top tips to get back on track? Share your suggestions in the comments link at the top of the page…

#MaintainYourMojo

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2016: Gym, gin and general life goals

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Forget gold digger, this year I plan to be a goal digger! Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself, to give you focus and direction, as well as an aim to train. Whatever your goals may be, make sure they’re realistic, achievable and timely to keep on track. Here’s my 2016 gym, gin and general life goals…

Gym goals…

Shape up. I want to lose fat, build muscle and tone up. I want to be stronger, fitter and sculpted (the buzz word in fitness for defined). I don’t have a goal weight and don’t really get hung up on what the scales say. It’s more about how I look and feel, for me strong is sexy/healthy, skinny isn’t attractive or appealing in the slightest. I’ve noted my weight and measurements at the start of the year, I’ll show and share my progress over the coming weeks and months. Check out The Naked Truth.

Start Yoga. Something I’ve said I’ll do for the last few years. I’ve been to a few classes, but never stuck at it on a regular basis. I’m well aware of the many health benefits, and need to improve my core strength, flexibility and balance – I am going to start and I am going to stick at it!

Enter some challenge events. This is still tbc at the minute, but I’m thinking a distance/open water swim challenge or a triathlon…

Complete Kettlebell and Studio Cycle Instructor qualifications. I’ve already signed myself up for these one day courses in February and March, two of my favourite fitness classes, I’ll let you know how I get on.

Start Gym Instructing. Putting my recent qualification in to practice. I’m going to look to do this on a casual basis initially, around my full-time job and see where it leads.

Gin goals…

Every year I do dry January – borderline necessity after the booze fest that is Deathcember! So the gin jaunts will be from February onwards…

No endorsements intended! All escapades are my own sourcing, links just for info.

Get involved at Manchester Gin Festival. A date that’s already in my diary, I’m going to the Gin Festival in March with a good friend, Dawn, my gin twin and fellow shoeaholic. Taking place at the beautiful Victoria Baths, we’ll be treated to masterclasses, live music, great grub and 100 different gins – sure we can do 50 each Dawn!
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Pay the Old Bell Inn a visit. Situated in Saddleworth, this hotel, restaurant and bar holds a Guinness World Record title for the most amount of gins commercially stocked – a whopping 600 different gins! I heard about this place just before Christmas. I’ll be booking in for a week… and detoxing for the rest of the year!
theoldbellinn.co.uk

Join the gin journey. A chauffeur driven gin jaunt around Manchester, that takes you to 5 bars, to try 5 gin cocktails, have fun and meet fellow gin lovers along the way. Led by the gin commandos at shakerattleandstir.co.uk.

I’m sure more gin jaunts will be added to the list as the year goes on.

General life goals…

Manage my money better. I have no idea where it goes and what I spend it on most months, but I’m always counting down the hours till payday, AND class my overdraft as part of my salary and credit card as free money. Not good, not good at all!

Read more. I really enjoy reading, but go through phases of reading loads and then not at all. I annoy myself, I’m really impatient and inquisitive by nature, when I start reading something I want to know what happens (yesterday), so I’ll devour a book in a matter of days, reading so much I give myself eye strain. Patience is a virtue, to be learnt!

Meat free Monday. Something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. There’s not much I won’t eat and I’m an alright cook, but I want to increase my veggie culinary repertoire, improve my health and do a bit to reduce my carbon footprint.
meatfreemondays.com

Writing my goals down and sharing them with the world is like writing them in blood – time to stop talking about them, pull my finger out and start doing! Like starting this blog, something I talked about doing for months, telling friends and family all about my ideas, plans and goals, but not doing the doing.

I’ll update on my progress over the coming months and if I’m slacking feel free to give me a telling. All good read, veggie recipe and gin jaunt suggestions welcome too…

Time for less talk, more action! 

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