(C)lean Bulking

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

If you already seem to struggle to put weight on, it’s clear that both your metabolism and expenditure favour the same outcome. Being leaner than most people and having the capacity to lose weight quickly is both a blessing and a burden for those with weight gain in mind, granted what we know about consuming too many bad calories or ‘dirty bulking’

This is one ‘method’, great in the sense of committing to significant weight gain, as this is often the factor which puts most people off, however, attempts to gain real weight is no real excuse to simply get fatter.

It was nice to learn the hard way I suppose.

So fat gain. It’s a necessary precursor to muscle gain considering that you’re eating more than you burn, but not just an excuse to eat whatever for the sake of getting stronger. Strength gain and progressive overload is essential, but matters which still don’t warrant this need to over-consume. It’s very easy for this to happen when performance is spot on, and weights seem to be flying up alongside strength increases, it’s still being able to retain all of this when you can’t get the food in.

If you can put your weight on the scale aside from the numbers in the gym and be mindful of the extra weight you’ll have to work back off at some point or another, it’s pretty straight forward in theory. It just depends how much weight you want to accumulate, in what time frame, and for what reason. I chased down 17 stone by whatever means possible, in retrospect if I could have sat comfortably at even a stone less, I would’ve had more time to get lean. Could have probably retained more muscle and reserved the need to implement drastic measures for fat loss later down the line to a  greater effect.

The same goes for dieting, you can’t just decide one day you’re on plan and the next be an exemption, this way you’ll never truly know the extent of your best effort, only your breaking point. It’s an irony which praises the capacity of doing what most people aren’t prepared to, which makes it ok when you fail. We are all too quick to celebrate endeavours concerning our bodies, because it divulges the connection between the gripes of our younger selves ‘I want this’, ‘I want that’ and the adult which says ‘no you’ve had enough already’

Weight gain is an equally precarious matter to those celebrating a lighter weigh in or successful transformation, as an over-celebration to weight increases only result in getting fat too quickly. When I see that someone is doing a ‘minicut’ this can either be adherence to a base recovery diet off the back of over-indulgence or simply an attempt to regain body composition.

Clean bulking is much more effective when body composition is improved, in that anyone can load creatine, carb cycle big meals and look as though they’ve gained lbs of pure muscle, it’s usually not the case. Find a target weight or aim for regaining a body composition that doesn’t just look good first thing in a morning with no food or water. Everyone can say they look lean or their best at this point but it isn’t a true reflection of your physique. The aim is to allow the body to assimilate nutrients from regular meals throughout the course of the day without bloating, affecting performance or having a reverse effect on appetite.

This is bound to happen if you’re just piling in healthy food and expecting to add muscle whilst staying lean, especially meals which taste much nicer when you’re dieting and actually hungry as opposed to eating whilst still relatively full most of the time.

Between water, fat, and everything else in between, it’s not so hard to regain a decent enough physique following a few weeks of overconsumption, but months at a time do no one any favours. To laugh in the face of seemingly minute increase in calories may be reckless if you already have a decent appetite, but bumping up calories too soon only increases the risk of spilling over and interrupting gradual progression. This would only be necessary for the hardgainer who cannot consistently eat enough calories to gain weight everyday and has to compensate for their expenditure, even so, there’s only so much you can consume at once.

If you wish to start your own gaining phase, work out your own TDEE aside what you currently eat and go from there.

Look out for my next blog,

‘The Candle at Both Ends’

Jake

Get on a Roll

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

You will never be more than one decision away from an opportunity to take your foot off the gas, have a break and say ‘Why not?’ If it feels like all we do is work, train or stress over the sake of better, an impending burnout will most likely come before any results.

You hear the words sacrifice and accountability thrown around when it concerns one’s mindset, firmly resolute in place or a wavering set of ideals which fluctuate daily. This doesn’t mean that you cannot still be dedicated, motivated or eagerly awaiting to see change for the better, it’s lacking the conviction to make consistently weary judgements.

Being on a roll can make us allude to better decisions. Small doses of accomplishment, rather than one bit hit of dread. You could say that the things which give us the most pleasure often come with some regret, but that shouldn’t dictate the path to which you seek out as one only regretful and with no benefit. We all have a release, how trigger happy we are to press that button or not may be something which remains to reinforce how adequately we fare when such is taken from our grasp.

How long could you live without the things which seem to bring fulfilment and serve purpose, are they merely a fragment of time which preoccupies vacancy? boredom? Or do they just overshadow further prospects for the future?

I’ve been telling everyone about my recent experiment with cold showers. I wouldn’t say it’s changed my life in the sense that I can now withstand freezing temperatures or that it’s made my breathing foolproof under extreme stress, but I would say that it’s put me on a roll. It’s like a chain reaction of doing one thing you don’t usually to question WHY you don’t? It’ll come to a point where you notice that time is just an easy default answer. Would you sense a disservice on your behalf if you didn’t keep on track, turning up, calling yourself out without an audience to praise or spur you on.

This is the key point, and something you observe in light of people’s reasons for exercise, some people NEED to be pushed. The difference being, on a roll or not, when you’re at home or away from the gym, there’s no one telling you ‘good job’ or ‘keep going’ which probably makes you feel like you’ve got away with it. If you’re someone that needs to be pushed, invest in someone that will keep this a constant, and not just when it suits them.

The reality is. Nothing truly works effectively unless you stick it out. It’s easier said than done this time of year when there’s always room for improvement, but are things going to be any different in 2020?

Get on a roll,

Whether it’s a class, a walk, a gym session or just refraining from the things that you know are holding you back, push on without regrets or WHAT IF’s, there’ll always be WHY NOT’s when you’re trying to break out from habits. Make your new decision the habit and not just a wish.

Look out for my next blog.

‘(C)lean Bulking’

Jake.

Fasting or Starving?

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

Throughout the day, insufficient nutrition can often lead to periods of hunger, onset fatigue and influence changes to our mood.

Whether you’re fasting because you don’t like the idea of breakfast as your first meal or simply favour time elsewhere as you wake, this contrast of starving and filling only sets you up for more confusion later on in the day.

By confusion I’m referring to the difference between being full and malnourished. If you think this involves under eating, you’re right, but it’s more of an under eating of the things you NEED rather than what you do not. The title of this blog was initially ‘NEED > GREED’ in that the better we get at differentiating between the two, we have more energy, less moods and no repercussions further down the line. The reasoning for keeping overindulgence and greed from the title is that we are all aware of this happening one way or another. Demonising hunger and cravings doesn’t help anyone. What is important isn’t the WHAT, but the WHY, and the WHY is usually because of under eating.

Prolonged periods of starving and filling, fasting and binging, has a hoarding effect on calories you could have been burning throughout the day. You don’t want to be training with lethargy, neither on your only meal of the day, it’s about having sufficient energy to fuel a decent workout. Merely starving yourself for the sake of a larger meal later on, only denies your body of the bare minimum required to function, make it even more difficult when you can’t help but fill to the absolute brim later on.

I don’t want to get into the black hole of protein synthesis or how much you can absorb in one sitting. How macros are respective to the numerical target and not the quality of food. But just think how long it takes your body to process all those nutrients in one go. It’s like trying to merge twelve cars into one lane, hoping that none of them crash or break down. Or downing a bottle of spirits then eating a high fat meal, your liver will probably be too preoccupied to effectively breakdown the food before the task at hand.

Firstly. Ascertain various points of the day where you can add in more meal(s). Granted that you have enough time to properly digest and assimilate nutrients before breaking your muscles down during training. Rushed meals and hoarded calories only make for disjointed hunger and cravings later on in the day. A time to which isn’t always convenient for cooking or anticipating the best options.

Unless you’re hitting a session fasted or doing cardio before your first meal gone midday, you’re not going to burn that much more fat to soundly justify, if any more at all. Eating is what increases metabolism, enough to suffice till the next and often enough to reach a level of satiety that doesn’t leave room for too many options.

It is options which give the fasting protocol more appeal, a window to eat, another to fast, useful for people that usually eat the most after 8pm. As everything which has a place within YOUR routine, find out the best approach for you. Acknowledge when you get hungry, respectively to the time of day, and what you’ve consumed so far. It’s usually self explanatory as I mentioned in Why We Get Cravings, we are missing something. If it’s FAT, have more of that within your first meal of the day. If it’s sugar, have a small amount of fruit throughout the day.

AND FINALLY.

CARBS. They are NOT the enemy. If you keep skipping carbs irresponsibly, you’re only going to want them more. This is where we get the majority of our energy from. Energy is performance. Bad performance is mood. Mood is stress. Stress leads to hunger. The cycle continues.

Look out for my next blog

‘GET ON A ROLL’

Jake.

Why Do We Get Cravings?

Fitness, Mindset

A pinch of salt, a dash of this, a splash of that. When it comes to cooking, it’s a fine skill to get these things right. There are many reasons why we aren’t all Michelin star chefs. Is it a perfected arrangement of fresh produce? Meticulous measuring devices? A unique blend of spices? It goes back to what we were saying about superlatives; best, worst, fittest, strongest, TASTIEST.

Food from a restaurant will always be served to SATISFY. The same can be said for what we decide to put in our body, so when our tastebuds suddenly become stubborn food critics we can’t help but wonder why things that once seemed appetising just don’t hit the spot?

TASTE and CRAVINGS.

Not to get the two confused, our tastes and cravings are two separate means of being satisfied, one is making decisions based on what we enjoy and the other can often be completely irrational toward things with no nutritional benefit or further resolve.

Whether you see cravings as good or bad, cravings are messages which tell our bodies that we are missing something. Missing, either in that we physiologically depend on having more of something in order to sustain and bring back balance, or emotionally, to make us feel better. How quick we are to ascertain not only the difference between the two, but pacify whatever cravings we have to a REASONABLE degree of satiety, will determine how much longer it has a voice, and whether we insist to listen.

The impending case of binge eating, whether it’s the first thing to hand or the last thing you’d expect to eat, are merely filling the gaps that can only be filled by what you crave. Your brain sees an over abundance of possibilities and makes demands, whereas your stomach only recognises one thing at a time.

What if you crave nutella because your blood sugar is low,

Peanut butter because you haven’t consumed any fat,

salty food because your dehydrated.

and the things that you happen to rectify those deficiencies with are equally consumed as they are demanded, you get an easy justification of being emotionally dependant. There are plenty of other sugar and fat sources, plenty of alternatives to assist with mineral balance that doesn’t concern high amounts of caffeine and replacements. What you fancy and what you need are two different things entirely.

The best contrast I can provide between the two is comparing restaurant quality food to a ready meal when you are hungry. Though it’s easy to use savoury food as an example, in that it is more filling, sugar is no different when you understand why you want it so much. No matter how bland or inferior to a cooked meal, the ready meal will do the trick if its been a while since your last meal. Though they’re not ideal, most of which will be very dense in calories, contain SOME macro nutrition, protein and fats for example, which will seem to fill you up much more than the quick grabs and snacks on the go.

Now your cravings have subsided, you have a full belly, for now.

Whether it’s salt, butter, spice, oil or sugar, flavour, taste aside, anything that you cannot possibly emulate in your own kitchen or have readily available is no real issue.

So what happens when you combine fats, sugar, carbs, put it into a pot and in your tea cupboard. NUTELLA. It’s all of the things you crave, with no expense, no preparation, no plates to put out, dishwashers to empty. Fool you fool me, if I was to put Nutella in my breakfast often enough, I personally don’t think i’d be able to stomach plain oats without it? It’s the same with cheese, anything sweet, pleasant or even remotely more-ish, it’s hard to close the flood gates on something that’s going to make us feel better for a period of time. With all the subliminal messaging, marketing and offers that play on our hunger,  it’s not like we need much more persuasion as it is. Anything you know you’ll MOST LIKELY eat if it’s there, don’t buy it, then you won’t be tempted.

TIME.

We will happily save ourselves a meal or two in weary anticipation of a meal out, wait thirty minutes once we’re actually sat down, and yet can’t wait a second longer than two stood watching through the window of a microwave.

If you spent an evening shadowing any decent chef, you’ll soon learn that timing determines quality. If something is too hot, it burns, too cold, undercooked. It doesn’t take much of an eye to distinguish between someone who regularly cooks and eats their own food and someone that will happily stand in a queue for the same amount of time. How long can deny your body of what it needs, wait to be served your daily hit of cravings, only to be unsatisfied. Cravings manifest themselves in thoughts, but they are still ultimately choices, whether you choose to ignore them and suffer or abide by their dictation, this will ultimately determine whether you remain hungry, adequately satisfied or painfully full to the brim.

Look out for my next blog ‘NEED > GREED’

Jake.

 

Post Comp Blues

Fitness, Special

With any great high comes its latter counterpart; an extravagant meal comes the bill, any great night, a headache and every other lapse of time in between a good time is otherwise then, a bad one.

What do I eat now that I can have anything I want? How do I train consistently without a looming date for which I will be judged? The best thing I can do is just turn the competitive switch off for now; Surely I have earned a rest?

Essentially It’s this crucial point which dictates how long our low points last for, the extent of comfort required to bring things back to normal. What kind of treatments and rituals do we award and console ourselves with in our potentially depleted, tired and vulnerable states. Or boredom, It may not be either one of these, but merely comforting for the sake of comfort, the blanketing of our younger selves, tucking away our stresses and responsibilities, time for bed.

How can we truly embrace the highs when they come around, cautious of their impending price. Accepting this fact. Any experience or pursuit which requires hard work will come with the highs of achievement, recognition or fulfilment. The physical cost of achievement differs from what seems like a mere pat on the back, though not all achievements have to be concrete to be tangible. Conversely, every other tangible contribution toward the debt you run up in order to justify simply great experiences come with a double dose of the blues; the physical cost and the mental weight that bears  once it’s all over. We battle with a ‘what now’ and ‘what next’ paradigm of having nothing to look forward to or work towards, a stalemate in time which only makes us look back rather than moving forward.

I think granting the perspective of whether you live day to day, month to month or years at a time will contribute to this fact. Planning ahead for the future at things to be excited about will serve as some respite on the days that seem to hold nothing but passing time. It is easy to chase days away and fill the gaps with a good time to make it go faster, yet only seem to celebrate empty feats bereft of a purpose besides a worthy toast.

When we eat and overindulge, that impending food coma awaits. When we drink ourselves sober and no longer get the benefit, the denial for perseverance of a better night always seems to outweigh any sense or judgement entirely. I suppose with any high there’s the justification of whether it’s worth it? Sometimes a headache or hangover is not much of a price for a good time, but a precursor to a knowingly successful one.

I’ve mentioned a lot of the justifications and excuses we employ to swerve matters we’d simply rather not do, and rightly so, we’d rather do stuff we enjoy. While it’s easy to have a good time, it’s even easier to have one whilst everything else hangs in the balance, though a consolation doesn’t treat or cure anything, it merely consoles.

So where does this leave me? I’ve tried to remove my personal attachment to this matter thus far in hopes to define the contrasts that run the parallels of our daily lives. It’s difficult to ignore the urge to compete just one more time this year, trickling out those last few drops of motivation at the bottom of a glass soon to be taken away, but it’s essential to know when to call it quits.

You can chase the highs of life but what you can’t do is get time back, you only have to do something truly uncomfortable for the first time to truly bear witness to every second of time. Whether it slips away or you suck it up and make every one count. You can either suffer now and reap the benefits later or always be comfortable and dread anything outside of that blanket you confine yourself to.

Follow my journey on Instagram,

JAKEDARCYFITNESS,

Jake

The Issue with KNOWLEDGE

Fitness, Special

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how our own experiences or lack there of are only as applicable to us as they are general to the next person. Although we advise each other on what we think is best, it may not be, naturally, we feel obligated to assist anyone when it seems like we are able to, but do they need it?

The contrast of fact, to the frivolity of bro science, has come to blur rather than define the commonly practiced knowledge surrounding the likes of physiology and nutrition, to the extent that people have over complicated the simplest of processes to make profitable confusion. Opportunists and the illusive crash course PT’s revere this way of thinking in a bid to over-prescribe what they think is correct, highlighting just how much they know vs what you don’t. More often than not, they don’t know much more either.

Whatever it’s down to reinforcing bad habits or this misinformation you may have accumulated, once it’s been corrected don’t dwell on it, move on and seek a better source of knowledge rather than merely entertaining it out of politeness. It is this politeness that doesn’t get anyone any closer to fact than fiction, the same goes for managers and players, a lot of people can’t take their own advice but somehow know what’s best for you. Listen intently and discard anything lacking true application, you can learn just as much from someone starting out their own journey than someone concluding theirs. Mould what you know now rather than consolidating what you didn’t, you’ll have plenty of time to reconsider your actions when they don’t turn out the way you want, so cross that bridge only when it comes. Your beliefs on a lot of things will change over time for the better and worse and ultimately with the wind.

The issue isn’t with your OWN KNOWLEDGE. Think about just how unique your opinion is to you, how it differs wildly on certain topics yet can be shared broadly on others. There will be a lot of things you may not yet have fully comprehended and would be foolish to commit your senses to in stone. A lot of the knowledge to which we lead our daily decisions by would have once started out as an opinion, proven otherwise, or made the norm. The basis aside from fact beholds an idea belonging to someone, and in turn shared for anyone else’s benefit, but it is ultimately THEIR KNOWLEDGE. Don’t allow other people’s experiences to be the source of your own, ultimately you need to experience it for yourself, you’re not learning from their mistakes, you’re merely acknowledging them.

My point is one that begs the question,

‘Who do you turn to?’

friends

family

mentors

colleagues

strangers?

Isn’t it funny how sometimes we find it easier to confide in strangers who don’t hold any predispositions against us or influence our own, impartiality is comforting when we are often told what to do. It is often that keep too much to ourselves or equally overshare at the expense or personal gain of those around us. With that in mind it would only take something as small as budding aspirations to be shot down or knowledge taken out of context to create discouragement, an idea to be stolen, be diligent and courageous in spite of this, you can’t be anything but.

How hard can it be to lose body fat, or get stronger, mentally more robust? Not as difficult as it’s made out to be, entrusting the correct information. It boils down to confiding in your source of knowledge and not being preyed upon by those that want to tactfully misinform for whatever reasons but their own. It’s like investment, people that can assess and predict the turn of the tide, is it based on previous numbers and patterns or superstition. Are you being entrusted with someone’s lucky numbers rather than a trusted source or system of previous success.

A lot can be said for the range of methods and practice of transformation; mental, physical, spiritual? The latter bearing nothing but questions and cynicism until the turn of the tide, still dwelling on the inadequacies of our pursuits, eventually  asking the successors of our ambitions HOW? When it’s too late.

Finally, it’s great to be well read, book smart and illiterate, especially when your field demands this from you. But don’t keep to one source of knowledge, whether it’s from a book, a friend, YouTube. Broaden your scope of knowledge and even try to connect things initially far between, retaining information will come to be much easier when it is commonly associated and not just memorised monotonously.

Ultimately, don’t be subjected to someone else’s knowledge without proving first that it is useful. In a world full of all the gear no idea, start with attaining some sort of idea first, before investing all your time and money into it. You only have to look around any gym to see nothing but branded water bottles, clothing and such, anyone can simply look the part. Expensive clubs at the driving range and electric trolleys on the course, but still no sign of a decent swing in sight.

Are you sharpening your tools and broadening your horizons, or simply just blagging your way through life?

Invest in what you know as opposed to what you have. Anyone can press 4 digits into card machine and satisfy the safety of everyone’s taste. Rather than buying new clothes for the gym or new clubs, watch tutorials, learn how to swing, read around the subject first.

Knowledge is power.

Follow my journey on Instagram

JAKEDARCYFITNESS

Expectation and Reality

Fitness, Special

Even after regaining back a few extra layers of fat, my perception of food and the reality of taking off the competitive blinkers is proving interesting to say the least. Maintaining a healthier weight in between shows has served to not only keep me warm as we get into October, but kept everything else in the balance also.

I forgot just how tunnel visioned I was becoming, pushing the boundaries of day to day function to chase better condition, to the point where I would be irritated by absolutely nothing at all. While I’m definitely not saying that I’ve cracked the code of contest prep, with anything in life, I’m glad I’ve learnt the HARD way.

My expectation of competing was it would surely be HARD. Easy though it felt, at certain points, I soon mistaken the ease I felt with enjoyment, the reality of the process entitled me with everything and more than I expected. RESULTS. They motivated me so much more than any amount of attention on social media or compliments coming from all directions.

The majority of the time, I yearned for it to be HARDER, questioning that it was almost going too well; I became fitter, lighter, my skin cleared dramatically and my general outlook on life for a good few months was nothing but gratitude and appreciation that I could experience this side of training without the negatives that surround it.

As a beginner, I had and still have NOTHING to lose. As soon as I walk out of that theatre, having enjoyed it and graced with more experience to know what to do better next time, I won’t lose sleep over it for sure.

In this regard, I have no expectations of the show, apart from anything goes and anyone could turn up, though, reality bears these conflicting means of success and failure, winning and losing, happiness or disappointment, necessary components of fulfilment or goals seemingly unfulfilled. For me the goal IS the challenge, not a title, or trophy that I can justify the things that I have missed out on or sacrificed, but a WHY, a reason TO stick to something rather than do what’s easier and put it off for a later date. If you don’t commit to it NOW, you never will, and this goes for any decision you come to wish you had the time for AT THE TIME.

I initially had the idea of calling out people on their unrealistic PORTRAYAL of themselves vs the reality of not being that impressive, but who am I to say? Someone might share this same opinion about me and it’s exactly that, an opinion. Yes it’s frustrating to see people with a bigger following than you when it seems like you work harder or have put more into the means of acquiring what they have but what harm can it do besides motivate you further? If they can do it so can I?

From the first time I added FITNESS to my name on Instagram this is the message I wanted to put out. Knowing it would be both well received and otherwise. Once you commit to the expectation of something like FITNESS you are then defined by what people often see as a hobby, another means of attention, an annoyance to some and merely a current trend thanks to another . While I’d love to admit for your entertainment that I do press-ups as the kettle boils, calf raises in the queue at Asda and hit impromptu poses for old ladies in the street, I can acknowledge how fitness can influence a lot of both your decision making and general conversations.

The reality is, when you are competing everything has to follow a structure, to the point of what seems like obsessive  precision, but life definitely isn’t as clinical. This is the grey area to which I wish to discuss, the line that people try and falsely promote. Including myself.

I tried one cal spray on a crumpet in the first few weeks of dieting and it’s safe to say I’ve not had once since. Here, with every chewy bite, was this said expectation of ‘you can have both’ shattered into a few dry, chewy pieces. No crumpet was ever going to be the same again. Calories are calories, potato po-tato, chocolate increases serotonin therefore, chocolate. In all my previous drunken and otherwise misguided squanders, topics of the sort aren’t hard to come by, here came the birth of actually getting this stuff down on paper to acknowledge just how FITNESS is falsely advertised to the unsuspecting, unscrupulous to the unbecoming and an even greater source of confusion for the many.

So where does this EXPECTATION of FITNESS leave me NOW? The one I will soon give out to people falsely by maintaining a lifestyle that doesn’t match up to photos. Finally I’ve created the hypocrisy of the catfish that doesn’t match their profile in person. Is it worth stressing and fussing to maintain my current condition, more so sustain, and it’s exactly that, unsustainable, like a lot of what you see on Instagram.

If I can be an example or spectacle of the points I’ve been making about the grass not being greener, ignoring the influences around yourself and simply just doing what serves you the best, I’ll be content. No I won’t just be content, I’ll be genuinely happy, knowing that I’ve shed a small light on just how we can overthink ourselves in to a bad situation and out of a good mental place.

The freedom of choice and the expectations of being able to have anything you want at the click of a finger, or a mouse, has withered down our natural sense of reward and achievements down to mere snap decisions that make us feel good only momentarily.

You could say the highs and endorphins of being on stage or performing in front of a crowd are equally as addictive as drugs and alcohol, not to say that I’ll never drink again. What I would say is, are your expectations of yourself confined to a good time? Is the person you want to be or wish to put out matching the one that your friends and family want for themselves for selfish means. Is it selfish of you to deny them the easy-going, joyous person they are used to or is this guise a costume of the person that wants out from celebrating a state of being they are not happy with? What is your true expectation of yourself and does reality match up?

I will always put myself and my morality before other people, if it means staying true to myself. If being off a meal plan and a routine that has kept me in check for over 4 months means that I am not maintaining the image I put out, I am guilty of the aforementioned. ULTIMATELY, I hope to maintain and uphold MY expectation of myself and my own capabilities, over anyone else I can sit and compare myself to. In this regard I urge anyone that wishes to make a change for themselves to stop looking at everything else around them and wondering WHY they haven’t made it yet or receive the attention they THINK they deserve. This only stands as the case for not having done anywhere near enough YET. If you’re struggling for motivation, look inward for what YOU wish to achieve and not what everyone else has already done or currently pursuing. Don’t be a shadow to someone else’s achievements or accolades, you will always be unfulfilled and never bear any purpose but stand second to someone else. Run your own race and don’t stop running until you come first.

Follow my journey on Instagram

JAKEDARCYFITNESS

💪

 

 

 

 

 

Should I Compete Again?

Fitness, Lifestyle, Special

So after a few well deserved days off from plan, I’m ready to do it all over, again. It was really nice to sit down and eat with all my family and friends rather than savouring every mouthful alone and thinking what’s on the menu ten minutes later. I’m saying that as though it bothers me, of course, I’d take a meal out over cold prepped food any day of the week, but the reality is, hunger on prep is something you have to embrace, it epitomises the competitive edge in every sense of the word.

Nothing tastes as good as Sunday felt, not just being on stage and relishing months of hard work but feeling sheer content, even now, a few lbs heavier already. While I massively enjoyed having the freedom to eat whatever I wanted, literally a kid in a sweet shop, I was ready to get back into routine the minute I realised that overindulging was far from conducive even in the short term. Freedom of choice as I’ve previously mentioned is a precarious thing, it can be the difference between bitter and sweet, first and last, winning and losing. This is the best shape I’ve ever been in, would do it all over again in a heartbeat, and we’re not even done yet. I don’t think could’ve, would’ve, should’ve done anything, maybe a slightly less relaxed off season of Dominoes next time round, but it only taught me how you can definitely have too much of a good thing.

I look back at some of the photo’s now from the weekend and laugh at myself just how relaxed I was, how I could’ve been so much better and worked harder on stage, but equally relieved that I could do it all with a smile on my face. I made rookie mistakes, and going into it with no expectations of the whole experience in general, I was humbled to say the least. Some of my stronger shots may look like I had the edge over a few other guys in the lineup, and in my honest opinion I’d probably put myself 4th not 6th, but again, what good is complaining and justifying the fact that MY best on the day wasn’t good enough. If I was to win, knowing that I didn’t bring my BEST, what purpose would that serve me? If I was to leave disgruntled at the outcome, not taking something concrete home to justify all my hard work, this process would’ve taught me nothing but a false sense of entitlement.

I think the take away point from the outcome is being granted with the experience to know exactly what I need to work on and what I would do differently next time. I enjoyed every moment being on stage, knowing that every other guy before me and the next had equally sacrificed by some measure, despite being my competition. It would be nice to turn up, wipe the floor with everyone and get a standing ovation, but weighing up the competition it soon became apparent that the prospects of this were unlikely. It was up until that point that I no longer had anything to lose, and everything to gain. I’ve made it this far without the need for a confidence boost or sung praises, merely customary in consolation, I’d take some empathy over loose compliments any day of the week.

When you have to be adamant to say no to people that try to corrupt and question your decision making to do something that they simply can’t or won’t do, out of choice, it’s often difficult to remember that it is equally their choice too.

And then you’ve got ‘The Neigh-sayers’ Of course I recently watched Pumping Iron.

‘But there’s more to life than starving yourself’

‘One drinks not gonna harm you is it?’

‘That’s not much food’

‘You’ve got to let your hair down, SOMETIMES’

I’ve heard it all, some people surprisingly more persistent to get a reaction than other’s, now I merely find it entertaining at what people come out with.

While we can all judge each other’s eating habits and question what is truly healthier, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as you can justify it to yourself. What if every expense of effort in life could be weighed up instantaneously with the sole benefit that it bears, sooner or later you’d drop everything that didn’t serve you a purpose.

Cardio is the perfect example. Now that it has a place in my routine, and the rewards for my effort can be seen much faster than before, I can no longer justify the extra hour in bed. It would be so much easier to stay in bed and make up for it later on somewhere, but for the sole premise on the benefit and purpose it has, I would be doing myself a disservice if I decided to swerve it. I’ve never been an early bird, If I ever met Mark Wahlberg I’d be the first person to tell him to have a lie in don’t worry. If you could categorise someone that equally resented having to get out of bed, relenting only at the prospect of getting back in, this was me.

Sleep was something I couldn’t live without whilst equally denying myself of it. Rather than getting up and training before work I would finish late and insist on going to the gym regardless of the time. While it almost empowered me knowing that people were settling down for the night and I was training, I justified taking stimulants and pre-workout to rule out any lethargy I’d accrued from a full day of working on someone else’s time. Little did I know how much damage I was doing to myself, sleep deprived and never fully recovered into the next session.

If you want it hard enough, you’ll make it work. I quit my job in retail to become a PT, knowing that it would be hard to sustain through seasonal periods, relying on the wavering whims of willpower that contrast my own. All it takes is a big enough WHY, and there’s your answer every time you’re faced with a question. If you don’t have a justifiable purpose when you it gets hard you’ll clutch at straws and be more likely to crack before you’ve even started. It is by this measure that the purpose of failing or slipping at the first hurdle may save you a lot of time and effort once you’re honest with yourself and just give up. The smaller pursuits may seem tedious and trivial in the vastness of the larger feats, but it’s those bite your tongue and move on moments which satisfy the grandeur of the real journey.

To me, there’s no greater lesson than being humbled, the gift of perspective.

Having a good time is easy, anyone that knows me well knows that I don’t struggle to do so. You’ll never struggle to find an excuse to drink or enjoy a nice meal in company. What you’ll struggle to get back is time, time spent enjoying yourself or time working on what you want most in life. Are you celebrating your life as it is now or do you need to earn it just a bit more to justify the effort you put in?

As for competing for those of you that are interested, my next show is on the 6th October. Thanks for everyone that came to the last one, it made the whole thing worthwhile. As for the next few weeks I’m just going to enjoy the process yet again and see how much further I can push myself before working back up to a more sustainable weight.

Follow the rest of my fitness journey on Instagram @jakedarcyfitness

Jake 💪

 

 

 

 

Self Doubt and Self Belief

Fitness, Lifestyle, Special

If you want something bad enough, no matter how long it takes, you’ll eventually get there. While it’s nice to have a goal, If you don’t question yourself regularly enough and allow yourself to be questioned you’ll never really know whether you truly want it or not. This is the dichotomy of self belief and self doubt. You have to have just enough belief in yourself to keep pushing without exceptions, whilst calling yourself out on your own BS even more so.

We hear a lot about mental health and situations which contribute to worsen peoples opinion of themselves or alternatively make them stronger. In life I feel these kinds of situations pose to define us, though as I’ve previously mentioned, I believe it is possible to change the person you may have unwittingly become. It’s safe to say I’ve had it pretty easy thus far, and like a lot of people, from school to college to university I scraped by on the bare minimum, only to look back now in retrospect at time gone by and the potentiality of being better had I applied myself more so.

I think at an earlier, impressionable time it boiled down to never being truly questioned or challenged. Some people pick up certain subjects easier than others, some have to knuckle down and spend more time going over and revising the topic from a textbook. In school especially, if you were scraping by and merely not failing, there was no real later  consequence besides ‘I could have’ or ‘I should have…’ Only to doubt the entirety of your knowledge and further interest should you take yourself off to College and University. Yet again I scraped by and left all my assignments till the last minute, stressing with minutes to go before deadlines usually at midnight. It goes without saying that fear and doubt can be huge motivators should you be struggling to find one. Without some measure of doubt, you’ll fail to enrich the capacity to believe in yourself and overcome the fear of failure. Failure is merely a bi-product of misaligned opportunities that require better timing and better execution. If anything its a trial run for perfecting something that cannot exist unless perfected. How many people try and fail, it’s only a select few that stick it out and are relentless until the job is done.

For a long while as teenagers and young adults, we are socially dependant beings, we yearn for confirmation and pleasantries on our appearance and personality to mould our identity, just as much as we are reassured and fulfilled by them. But what if everyone around didn’t share the same intrigue or the same goals, encouraged us to follow the same path as them and had enough influence on us to disregard our own path altogether. Does this conflict with who you truly are, and who you will become?

We confide in others by sharing the commonalities of our days; weather, food, small talk and mostly polite utterances. We often converge to what the other person is saying in the hopes to find a middle ground that we can both share together, but sometimes you meet people that you just cannot confide nor relate to on any level.

Depending on where you live and who you surround yourself with, this could be a lot of people that you come into contact with on a regular basis, which, slowly over time you’d start to accept and share more commonalities with, should you be forced to be around them, as opposed to disagreeing all the time. What are the chances that you will talk about work with a work colleague, outside of work, it might be the ONLY thing you have in common. It’s these commonalities which make you doubt your own thinking if it doesn’t collate with theirs. You’ll be surprised how short and awkward a conversation will be once you take agreement out of the equation. Ultimately if you please everyone before yourself, you’re putting yourself last.

So what is my point in all this?

Well, let’s say you’re already doubting yourself, it wouldn’t take much for someone to question and put more doubt in there. Alternatively if you have too high a dose of the belief without the critique, you get delusional. Think someone going on the X factor that has never been told that they can’t sing. For me this would have been me if I wouldn’t have consulted a coach or taken advise from anyone other than myself in order to convey my knowledge for the sake of my business, but realistically I’m still learning and growing every single day. I’d take being a beginner any day of the week. There’s only so many time you can get asked about what to eat and how to train and know that it’s falling on deaf ears. While I firmly believe that I can help people change their ways, if they want it for themselves, I am far from a miracle worker, I doubt a lot of the claims I see from other coaches and clients but there are plenty of options available should you be that way inclined. I know MY body, I know training and being creative with it, I couldn’t recite all the bones and muscles of the body on command, nor can I diagnose injuries, but I also know the limit to my capacity as a trainer. If you brought me in a post natal client or someone with injuries beyond my capabilities, I’d pass them on to someone that knows rather than take a stab at how to handle them.

Know and grow your capacity, if you want to learn or commit to something, don’t let anyone talk you out of it, and alternatively if you don’t, it’s your’s and only your responsibly not to succumb to influence. If you are doubtful of your potential and fear failure, it means you care about it enough to get it right.

Follow my journey on Instagram jakedarcyfitness

not quite ready for Youtube yet, but it’s coming…

Jake

Staying relevant or not at all

Fitness

If you ask anyone with a significant following on Instagram what would be the best piece of advice they could give you to grow your social media , it’s always going to be post MORE. I tell myself the exact same thing, and as a PT, social media is essentially the activity of your business nowadays, whereby you can prove that you’re in the gym working with your clients. I’ve not posted a workout video for 2 months and I’ve probably made more progress in that time than I have in months on end swapping and changing exercises . So why is that? Obviously my diet is tighter, I’m doing more cardio, but I have a structure, rather than thinking what’s best to record.

 

When you’re new to this game, you want to put as much content out as possible and market your services in a way that ascertains your target audience, the premise being potential clients. The reality is, most of your clients won’t come from Instagram and will certainly not be the ideal typecast that you can transform in a few weeks as you may be able to yourself. People’s metabolism, attitude, work schedule, eating habits, relationship with food, relationship with themselves and others are way beyond a training and diet plan. My best piece of advice would be to stop focusing on the sheer expanse of what you are newly-able to do and decide what you think is important to post. People are going to have similar body types, you’re going to use a lot of the same exercises, but no one person will ever be the same as another. If anything you’ll learn more from your clients about more creative ways to get them in shape and think differently about food rather than simply telling them what you/to do.

 

Having a solid structure in place is essential if you want to progress, which also means not being deterred by what everyone else is doing, OWN what you do rather than taking snippets from everyone else. There’s only so many times you can watch a video of someone doing a lat pulldown or a bicep curl before it just gets tedious, the same goes for diet, content is content, people will post be something new every day anyway. The same goes for your food, the grass will always seem greener when you’re eating the same foods week to week, what everyone else is eating may look more appealing, but yours should stay the same most of the time if you’re looking to make changes nonetheless. So what has structure got to do with staying relevant? Well for me, I’ve realised that I simply work better not trying to juggle both.

 

Ultimately, I post what I DO, not what I think people will like or find easier to relate to, the reality of it is, it’s not anything new. If someone asks me how I train my back, it’s a simple answer, while I get the impression of doubt like I’m holding onto a secret that doesn’t exist. Surely it can’t be that simple or there must be a certain rep-range that offers the most results. The answer is quality over quantity, forget the time frame if this is something that will put more pressure on your progress, it’s only once you determine the best method can you then actually try it. If the method constantly changes it just creates more confusion and makes you more susceptible to stumble across a ‘better’ or more responsive exercise or program.

 

Staying relevant is essential. If you want to grow your following, people basically want to know what you’re doing, where you’re going and where you’ve been. This might be nothing, everywhere and quite frankly nowhere, but this does not hold any restraint on your knowledge until proven otherwise. Unless you’re in unquestionable shape, people want to test your knowledge in the flesh, and quite rightly so, if they haven’t worked long enough to see results yet, the only means of valuing their investment is seeing what you know. As a paying customer this is their right, but this does not mean wavering between the means of your plan and what they’d rather do, because most of the time, it’s less.

 

We’re equally poised as we are garish beings, we pin every destination anticipate each milestone which sets us to the next, capturing the moments and excitements that never seem to last as long as every other normal time we endure, mundane. People don’t want to do the same exercises week in week out, they want the fun, different ones which they don’t find mundane. Ascertain the balance and value of excitement aside from the mundane, the benefits of simplicity as opposed to over-complicating an already over-complicated process, the basics are key, but they have to be progressed sooner or later.

 

So what if you do the same things every day? Does anyone else need to see that? Stay relevant or not at all. Prepping for this competition has made me realise just how much faster time flies when you have a set routine. I’m thinking this time last week I had this meal, I did this many reps and the next thing I know, another week rolls into one. Not having a routine is like constantly moving the goal posts, trying to do the same amount of work or even better with more food so you’d think more energy, but each means for one thing has a place for another. Don’t just follow the eating habits of everyone else with a bit of muscle to them or a significant following, what works for them may not work the same for you.

 

On that note, I’m about to dust the cobwebs off my camera and see whether it still works.

 

Thanks for all your support in the run up to this prep,

 

Jake