Self-Sabotage and Criticism

Lifestyle, Mindset

Are you trolling the best version of yourself?

It can be said that when things appear to be going great in our lives, we often anticipate the eventuality of Sod’s Law as though a duration of happiness or content must come with a contrasting downturn, impending cost or end.

Everyone wants the easy road, open doors and opportunities handed to them on a plate and yet can’t help but feel ensuing bitterness toward those living the life they desperately want for themselves, myself included. Equating the struggle, effort or burning desire for covetable means of a better life isn’t the same as taking the necessary road, kicking down the door and cultivating opportunities rather than waiting around for them. The day that I put the focus solely on myself rather than bitterness in my inadequacy was one met with all too ruthless accountability. I soon realised that the pressure I was putting on myself was way more than realistic and practical, testing my will to the breaking point just so that I could get an acquired taste for failure, working even harder as a result.

The fact of the matter is, we don’t look to people that seem to be doing better than us in search of a formula or solution, but the same very critique and brutal judgement we must first apply to ourselves if we want to facilitate significant changes or improvements to materialise. The more I act on what I think as opposed to expectations, being as subjective and honest with myself as possible, comes functional rationale, enlightenment if you will. Irrational behaviour as a result of hyper-scrutinity is what I deem to be resultant of abusing our unfulfilled need for acceptance, a conditioning that we can put to the test every time we post a picture and it doesn’t get the same engagement as the last.

For me, the most secure I am with myself is when I am taking enough action and making choices that are conducive to the kind of person I would like to look back on in 5 years time and it be bear no dissimilarity to the values and morality to which I take full ownership of. The way that I want to relate this back to self sabotage is this dichotomy of growth without critique, improvement without questioning and success without failure. I often look at old posts on Instagram or Facebook and cringe at how my perception or outlook may have changed, resentful of how I could openly protest and be so forthright with my opinion and now be so reluctant to share anything that doesn’t full epitomise the message I want to convey.

I suppose it’s different the more you mature as person and become less obsessed with gratification as you do earlier years, at the time it’s equally instinctual as it is extrinsic, reverting back to this unfulfilled need or void we are all looking to fill in one way or another. As consumers of anything and everything that is suggestive enough to our needs, how freeing would it be isolate the need from perception, opinion and critique to the most useful from the useless. Equating that which we ingest from the most benefit and least side effect. We do this every time we scroll past and ignore something that doesn’t intitally resonate or appeal to us yet could still find the same answer in that what the information wasn’t otherwise saying. Sometimes the information is right in front of our very eyes and we fail to miss the fine details, favouring common ground, unconditional acceptance that does no one any favours, a humility that equally binds our capacity or ability to be manipulated.

By watching Netflix, it means we aren’t doing something less favourable, something which you may resent or dread. It’s not the act of being in bed and watching Netflix which is so appealing, but the fact in conjunction with what you aren’t doing as a byproduct. By critiquing components of your personality all to diligently, you are also failing to quantify your worth, character and qualities. Just like our diligence with NEED from GREED, It becomes one big cycle of would you rather, rather than embracing, accepting and working on YOUR FAULTS you are insisting on letting them be used against you.

How much critique, negativity or stress facilitates this instant response for ‘Now I must take, eat or do something in order to feel better. Premature celebration as I recently mentioned in an IGTV. The same refresh button that gives us more content, news, information and entertainment is the very thing that is making our NEED for gratification more of a trigger finger than functional means of decompression. Could our brains even able to handle this constant surge of endorphins, serotonin and joy? Surely we need to feel sadness, dismay and rejection in order for us not to take more favourable Imagine sitting in front of the same episode of your favourite show, on repeat, eating a death row style meal for an entire week. Sooner or later you’d find more resentment toward the things you once enjoyed and relished. It’s often not entirely the things you are consuming, watching or enjoying that evokes, excites or stimulates this emotion, but the act or predicate of doing so.

Think less, BE MORE, epitomise your greatest identity and respect its purest form, warts and all, incapabilities and strengths. The wrong kind of noise can warp and distort it’s right for complexity and detail, but only you have the capacity to protect the process between initial idea to finished product. Be it displayed on a shelf, in your own shop or sold off on a market stall at a discounted price with a different label unbeknownst to your approval. People will choose to sabotage and discredit you if it means putting themselves above you and justifying their own imposed inferiority. If you cultivate a big enough label, name or reputation for yourself, you won’t need anyone else to do it for you. The same can be said for criticism, if you already have enough on your plate, don’t add even more fuel to the fire for the sake of testing your willpower. Be realistic. This might be fine for a day when you have the energy to put up a fight, but on one when you feel vulnerable or tired, the only result you can count on is burning out.

Self-sabotage, coming FROM you, and criticism, everything AROUND you can be overwhelming, which doe you listen to the most and what do you deem more important between the two? This pendulum swing of positive critique and all else that poses to negate your perception of progress, identity or purpose is the kryptonite of our creativity, freedom and happiness. Embracing one is a means of requirement to the other, tough love, reality checks and bringing down a peg or two are determiners which can either provoke change or block it.

Be realistic with yourself, acknowledge feelings of inferiority as a means to be better rather than perceiving them with resentment.

Have a great day,

Jake

What is Your Release?

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

In the instance of current affairs, what would happens if you couldn’t exercise? Your daily dose of the outdoors jeopardised by unfavourable weather conditions? Would you enjoy the heat and warmth of your own home or insist on a few extra layers for the sake of ultimately feeling better afterwards?

Do you take to the occasion and warrant celebration, unwavering in your optimism for opportunity rather than setback? Or accept the fact that this will ultimately have to be replaced with something else?

Social events and celebrations put on hold, postponing the chance to have a drink and destress, would a few glasses of wine at home suffice in the meantime or would you just wait another few weeks to properly enjoy and appreciate?

What is your release?

and importantly to what extent do you feel satisfied?

Is it the physical purge of stress, or does this come as a subsidiary bi product of needing a good time?

On the flip side, and this goes back to the quintessential bodybuilding condition of COST:BENEFIT, could you benefit from ascertaining a certain point, a quantifiable limit to the benefit? Minimising everything else that comes with this jading effect of consequence and reaffirming the positives of things that you love to do.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD TIME?

If the gym is your release, if you’re competing and your usual machines are taken, out of order or the gym is simply too busy to train effectively, would this discourage or throw you off to the point of resentment? Does change or anything out of your control scare you?

Can you acknowledge the opportunity to JUST TRY SOMETHING ELSE?

THE GYM IS CLOSED.

So work out a new game plan, the novelty of rest can wear off quite quickly after coming to the summize of does thou even lift bro after a few days off. Here’s where most people fail, they either use this time to guilt trip themselves into feeling like a piece of shit for not going, and do something about it… Or bury their head and not go at all. Now these are what seem to be two completely different means of getting a release, both ends of the coin, moderation and obsessive. It’s clear that when the obsessed get denied of the things they cannot live without, they struggle more than taking the moderation route, a scale which can be ascertained from a simple would you rather, and here comes the golden question,

Is it the gym, a few beers? Seeing your mates, seeing your girlfriend, going for a walk?

Whichever means of feeling better has somewhat of a hold on you unless you can accept going without it.

There are plenty of these conscious decisions and outlets to which we can manage such pressure valves, stress relievers and means of serving purposeful bearings in our lives. Whether or not it’s a real possibility that gyms could be closed for a good few months, for the sake of comparison to any other release in your life besides drugs and alcohol, think just how important exercise is to you. To your mental state and the impending turmoil you could face if you turn a blind eye to it over the next few months.

Would you put it over your main release if you had to choose, a few beers on a friday for a complete lockdown where you would be confined to one room in your house until further notice. It’s crazy to see just how many people are out and about recently with the current situation, whether or not they have suddenly understood the value of exercise and fresh air or aim to defy the rules, but that’s another story.

So, whatever your release is, use it sparingly, you wouldn’t bang out every exercise in the book merely for the sake of it, space out the things that bring you satisfaction and fulfilment, aside from the things that just make you feel good temporarily. This is taking the same kind of precedence as the very first post on my Blog, Short Term Satisfaction, Long Term Misery, the same applies right now.

Yes we are in a crisis, we need our pacifiers and releases, but don’t allow this dysfunctional situation encourage you to go backwards with your progress, undo your motivations and reasons to carry on, because if you lose that, the only thing that can be gained is temporary measures for feeling better. Choose your releases wisely, keep active, stay safe, stay motivated.

Jake💪

5 Ways to Improve Creativity

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

There’s something about the allure of ‘the magic pill’ which can overshadow our own innate capacity to think creatively and effectively. Relying on caffeine and stimulants to fuel thought processes disrupt the natural inception of our ideas and subconscious decisions, sidelining the full extent of the our rawest potential to the confines of logic.

There’s nothing worse than having 1001 ideas pouring into your head and being too internally critical or suppressive to the most important dots awaiting to be connected.  Alongside the function of problem solving, for me this is the essence of all creativity, a constant battle of abstraction and reason, the means to a beginning, concluding an end. Every thought and measure of energy which takes shape within a piece of writing, marketing campaign or business model goes through a strict vetting process; meticulous shapes of words on a page, scrunched scraps of paper which don’t make the cut.

If having more energy gets you to the destination of logic or reason even faster, how many other loose or abstract ideas did you miss along the way. Then there are the births of entirely new ideas built upon initially unfamiliar, discarded entities, look at the architecture of the Imperial War Museum, conceptual poetry, art made from rubbish and cigarette butts.

Modafinil, adderal, ritalin and concoctions of study drugs are now a highly dependable means for a lot of people, the difference between getting all or none of your work done at all. These compounds only enhance the means of getting into ‘FLOW’ faster, aid concentration for people with ADHD and other conditions which make for sticking to the task at hand, difficult. If you’re experimenting with different ways of becoming more creative, why not make your first creation a routine, a ritual, checklist that you follow just before you set your mind and words to paper. Ultimately you want to find a sustainable way to work effectively, to deadlines or just without distraction. Drugs or stimulants may help you come up with an original first paragraph, but is the rest of the story going to materialise before the impending comedown or brain fog?

So, without further adieu, my top 5 tips for CREATIVITY

  1. Find your most productive time of the day.

In E. Jean Carroll’s Biography of Hunter S. Thompson, the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, she revealed the extent of the writer’s working habits, absurdly late nights and infamous drug use. It begs the question however, whether this did in fact facilitate the extent of his creativity or merely pose as a suppressive measure for an otherwise over-abundance of ideas, thoughts, dispositions that didn’t need any much more probing to surface. Your most productive time could be first thing in the morning as you wake, before external distractions and the onslaught of information from your devices. Ditch your emails, socials and impressions, this could be your most impressionable and inspired state. You essentially want to influence your own ideas and create them, not spectate and interact with things that have already materialised around you. It’s great to be supportive of your friends and their businesses, but merely being a spectator to someone else’s race won’t help you finish your own.

Not of all us can commit our entire working day to our own pursuits and products, when the time comes to reflect, it is often hard to distinguish between the two, work and well, still technically work but with even less immediacy of consequences if you didn’t show up. Hold onto at least an hour or two AM/PM, a creative ‘window’ that only concerns and enriches your own thinking or business, ensuring that you’re not forgetting any ideas or losing out on sleep.

2. Don’t wait for ideas, go and find them

Words aren’t going to appear on paper like they would be routinely delivered via a nice neat letter, enveloped within HMRC brown and accurately dated. If anything it’s more like someone throwing a brick through your window, rawness, interaction, profanity, throwing it back, keeping it active. Passing thoughts may feel a random and uncontrollable process, but it’s still a reaction to a question which you may require or have unwittingly demanded from the universe. Unprecedented emotions cannot be pigeonholed or justified by rational thinking. This doesn’t mean that we have to become irrational to facilitate great ideas, but we do have to experience plenty of other means outside the confines of our own comfortable rationale in order to make our thoughts reactive.

J.K Rowling didn’t hallucinate the interior of Gringotts bank from inside a greasy spoons cafe, nor would she have based any of her character’s off the back of routine trips to the dentist. She worked for Amnesty International earlier in her career and had first hand experience with abuse, injustice and all the necessary proponents for the escapist narrative. What we think and what we create are opportunities to either attract or repel elements of the world around us, an eventuality which makes a half cup emptier, the counterpart, fuller. We can either use bad experiences to further influence the world around us negatively or change the narrative. Harry Potter never would have made it to the big screen if he was based on a young asylum seeker seeking refuge from Syria. Rowling’s work was so far removed from her own experiences that it ushered in a highly contrasted genre to the forefront, fantasy. So if you’re looking at writing romance or comedy, don’t just research sweet-tooth love stories, but heartbreak, tragedy, the impending reality of grief.

3. Embrace the noise, messy is more

I believe there are difference’s between the many stages of creativity, and I’m certainly not claiming that procrastination is always a necessary component of such a process, but merely struggling to land on an idea amidst plenty of options is certainly better than having none at all. This is where you write as much as possible down on paper and see what remains to stand out when you come back to your notes. If an idea is good enough it won’t be much different the second time around. Make multiple tabs for each separate thought no matter how irrelevant at the at the time, there’ll be chance to ascertain whether it’s of any use to you once all your ideas are out in the open. Connect the dots and ideas that both compliment each other or even if they are conflicted in some way, everything in life tends to satisfy two poles, compliance, disagreement, love, hate, experience, naïveté, maybe your answer can be found in the antonym.

4. Pair your procrastinations

‘Time inconsistency refers to the tendency of the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards’ -James Clear.

What seems appealing right now won’t be when have the same appeal when you’re up to your eyeballs in looming deadlines or consequences that have more immediacy than the ones you face relaxing on the couch. Pair your best and worst tasks together so that you can at least stick out the one that you’re most likely to quit half way through. Coffee and reading, cardio with audiobooks, ironing and chores with your favourite show, if you’re enjoying one thing, you’ll forget how much you hate the other. Procrastinate your way back to productivity if you need to take a break from writing, working and thinking in general. Which brings me onto my last tip…

5. Know when to stop trying

If it’s brain fog that makes it difficult to get out of the starting blocks, finish a paper or come up with a new idea, there’s no point in forcing it, nothing good ever came from that. It’s only when you’ve left something till the last minute like I used to do with all of my university assignments till I realised that I was merely capping my potential at the whims of last minute resorts. You’d have to be pretty lucky or a genius to uncover your greatest ideas and plot-lines the night before a hand-in, but then again, you’ve still got to write the damn thing. Make your best and most creative capacity the most accessible part, your worst being resultant of not effectively making time to process and retain USEFUL information. The very state in which we abuse and suppress when we choose to binge watch series, entertain our irreverence and essentially become expert hoarders of useless information. Encyclopaedias of everything but the knowledge we need and execution of practice.

It’s cultivating this state of confusion, frying your attention with big lights, suspense and drama which makes it all too easy to do everything but the task at hand, but there’s a reason why you can’t think straight. Find out what’s blocking the pathways between, could this be drugs, alcohol, lack of sleep? Stress? All of the above?

Look out for my next blog ‘Rest and Digest’ to find out.

Make the time for yourself and unlock your ‘FLOW’

Jake

The Transformation Paradox

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

If you have products or services to sell, results or proof of what potential customers can expect before buying can be the difference between ‘take my money’ and ‘we’ll be back later’

Just because someone can get in great shape themselves, does not mean they know exactly how you can too.

When it comes to fitness goals and the appropriate steps one must apply in order to get there, has the necessary suddenly been surpassed by the ‘would you rather?’ Refusing to pay in sweat, whilst paying to be told what you want to hear by the bucket load.

Would you rather, eat out every night and dine like a king/queen?

or eat the same thing every single meal for a week?

train a bodypart or  an exercise you enjoy?

or do hours of cardio?

Calories for x,y,z of all your favourite food and treats, burn that off on your fitbit and we’re back on track, permission to say ‘you’ve absolutely smashed it!!’ after every set of manageable work and acclaim for the results you want despite the time frame.

In a world full of empty promises and wolf of wall street hard-sell dogma, who would you rather give your money to? If anyone at all? To supplement motivation and mediate such a personal battle of extremes. To trust that they will have your best interest in mind rather than just getting a good photo in 6/8 weeks.

Back yourself.

everything you’ve got, or not at all.

You don’t have to do any of the above any more than what you expect to work, relish at the thought of cardio knowing that it just works, if you can learn to enjoy it as well that’s a bonus. I don’t eat the same meal everyday, nor do I resent eating any meal, if I don’t enjoy eating something I’m not going to stick to it, but there’s stark differences enjoying a piece of fish over a pizza, get to know these too.

If you mess up today, you get a fresh start tomorrow,

If you can’t run, go for a walk, if your gym partner let you down, go anyway, get yourself ahead of them and push them to make it up.

If you can’t motivate yourself, no one can, but not trying at all is leaving it to chance.

I very rarely push transformation packages and challenges, it’s something I tried early on in my transition to personal training, but found out first hand just how difficult people find sticking to a diet plan.

So was it hard to stick to? Would it work for me and not for them? Would I be able to eat what they think is healthy for the same period and get in just as good shape? This argument of genetics, the cruelty of inherited conditions, insulin resistance and such, are they rational reasons to revoke the idea of exercise or more excuses?

Meet them half way.

Does this mean I incorporate chocolate and croissants into my programme, NO. Would I swap out a 30 minute cardio session for the sake of being the good cop, NO. Unless there’s a reason for doing less, always do more. You get to your usual corner earlier than usual on a run, go a few blocks further, you don’t feel out of breath so much this time, go faster? There’ll be one voice that says stop and another that says carry on, the latter is the person you want to become.

Jake

Resolutions

Lifestyle, Mindset

I wonder how many people have already broken their new habits going forward into 2020?

‘At least the intention was there’

This is the statement I wish to pick apart, for the sake of distinguishing hurdles from set backs and failure’s from this fixed state of ‘failed’

Having ‘Good intentions’ to me is like having a contingency plan for letting someone down, you didn’t intend to, but already having something in place for the likelihood means that you left something to chance.

‘I meant to, was supposed to, tried to…

eat healthier,

exercise,

cut down on smoking,

get on my feet more.

But considering I haven’t done it today means I haven’t resolved my bad habits and am therefore by definition, a failure.’

Whatever reason(s) for not doing any of the above today is just another opportunity for tomorrow, yeah you might have failed today, 5th January, but doesn’t mean you’re gonna wait till 2021 for a fresh start.

It’s all in the words and how concrete you can make the narrative. Whether you accept that you have fail-ed absolutely, are a fail-ure or currently fail-ing one component of a larger process. The latter indicates how such efforts are ongoing, do-ing and active, in that you must still be revok-ing the finalised notion of failure despite what comes with it.

This is good, it means that you want to change enough and are prepared to fail as a biproduct of defying the norm, the mould or the person that you need to break out from. Failure shouldn’t ever be made a destination, ‘alas I have failed’ warning other people of the treachery, save them the heartache, consolation or attention. We are only human, irrational, emotional, primitive, quick to find more reasons to hide away in our caves than face our problems.

Making better choices and holding yourself accountable for them isn’t something that should take an ice age to realise the consequences. Whether you see a slip up as a chance to get back on your feet or an indicator that you aren’t good enough, it’s no real reason to just play dead and hope that everyone just walks over you.

If it were up to me I’d put the inevitability of failure so immediately in the forefront that success in anything is more so a biproduct than it is a destination. A subversion of these two things is the difference between sticking to your guns and taking ownership of your own fate or leaving it to chance. The outcome goes back to what we mentioned about intention, a firm resolution that isn’t unwavering, it might not be perfect or something you can consistently do everyday, but as much as you can will certainly suffice.

It’s easy to use a new year as a fresh start where there are no consequences to avoiding your new intentions, but has this condition of thinking confined you to the same person you were the year before? You have another year to be the judge.

 

(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.

 

What is Your Normal?

Mindset, Special

One man’s meat is another man’s poison

One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor

One’s man’s pleasure is another’s pain

One man’s loss is another man’s profit

One man’s fault is another man’s lesson

What may be a sin to one is a blessing to another.

What is your normal?

What may be deemed as normal for some may often seem extreme to another.

Someone may warm-up with your max, take a main for a starter or habitually crack open a can on a Monday morning, but it’s still no more extreme than your extremest.

We tend to focus on the general progression of those around us for scale and perspective, weighing up the likelihood of emulating similar feats. While it is easy to get distracted by the fine details and raw ingredients that make for someone else’s success, it’s often a basis of personal traits that come to distinguish an ability to define the extreme from the necessary.

In that lies the contradiction, considering anything outside the capacity of our normal to be abnormal, whilst equally reluctant to replace our own habits with what may be required. It’s only when requirement becomes obligatory can we set old habits aside for new beginnings. Unless you live every day like its your last, are reluctant to step outside of the confines which contain your potential or simply fear disappointment, this is normal.

It is upon anticipation and the likelihood of failure that better defines possibility, enough to make what once seemed impossible less than such. Some people are just plain lazy, they wear their faults and restrictions to exercise like a badge of honour, welcoming those who refuse to follow suit with bitter applause, eager to criticise something they can’t or simply won’t do themselves.

This is THEIR normal.

Just because you can run doesn’t make you any better. It’s a redundant comparison which does nothing but put you closer into the category of quitting prematurely. Simply doing more than someone who does nothing isn’t a feat worthy of adulation, unless you couldn’t physically get on your feet before or have surpassed your own restrictions to get to this point. Don’t celebrate doing the BARE MINIMUM, EVEN IF it is more than most.

So how can we define OUR NORMAL from everyone else,

Do one thing you didn’t do yesterday. Always be thinking about the distance between yourself and your capacity over anyone else’s. Level up on the cardio, or ANYTHING that is difficult, go faster, do more calories, demand more from yourself rather than looking for ways out of it.

When you do, outwork any reward besides the reason for starting. If you do 500 calories on the stairs, and you have to think about chocolate all the way to get you through, you’re just making it harder for yourself. Later you get home and eat the equivalent amount, have you just done it all for nothing? Does the goal warrant the reward? If it does, make sure it is worth it. If it wasn’t we go back to where we started, justifying how you did so much more than you anticipated, certainly more than the BEST laziest comparison, but you’re now no much better than if you stayed home and did nothing. Rather than compare and rationalise how much LESS you COULD have done, think about how much more ground and momentum you COULD HAVE MADE for bigger goals beyond momentary pleasures.

There’ll ALWAYS be an opportunity to EAT, DRINK and INDULGE, what there won’t be is enough time or energy in-between to maintain something that demands a lot of both, aside everything else. If it’s normal for someone to eat whatever they want and seem to look the same, drink the night before and still seem to perform, let them make that their normal, whilst equally owning yours. If normal isn’t staying till the end, leave. If it means eating something you wouldn’t usually for the sake of being hungry, don’t. There’ll always be a way around everyone else’s normal.

Having goals and requirements doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. You can always factor in more flexibility around days which require you to be more flexible, just make sure it’s that day and not the full weekend. Have a look at what you plan to eat in a few days time, earn it in advance, do the work now rather than overcompensating.