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

💪

 

 

 

 

 

The Issue with Influence

Lifestyle, Special

Think for a moment of the analogy that confines a fish to the size of the bowl it resides.  Now imagine the fish were to be a great white. How much more difficult was it to imagine the likelihood of the shark successfully sustaining in the smaller tank without eventually busting over the bowl, compared to a goldfish. Now this isn’t an attempt to define us categorically by pure aggression or passivity, but it’s easy to be confined by your environment when you fail to look beyond it.

I’ve previously mentioned the precarious, vastness of choice, in my last blog The Grass isn’t Greener, though it’s not just our decisions that are influenced by environment, but our thoughts too.  It is often difficult to acknowledge your surroundings and adapt to them whilst staying completely true to yourself. To converge and entertain the opinions of other’s when you don’t know any better. But there comes a point in time where you can either stare back blankly at the pointing finger and swim round in circles or go straight through the glass.

It is easier said than done, to be yourself, if you don’t know who that person is yet, and often people never get the chance to find out. The easiest way that you can distinguish yourself and your beliefs from others is knowing what you’re not. Throughout your social transformation you probably dipped your toe in a lot of different fish bowls, some you merge more of your body into and other’s you pull suddenly from tepid water. It is much harder as you become an adult to simply just drop opportunities and responsibilities simply because you’re not keen on them, but it will serve you a lot more time than just plodding on regardless.

So how does this relate to influence?

Where we put our time and thoughts is crucial. When we don’t influence our own decisions and let other means dictate our path, we are merely existing. Entertained by the passing tides and seeing new buildings which take shape, life seems to be quickly moving on but is it actually changing for the better?

In a world full of influencers, DON’T BE INFLUENCED, not even by ME. Nothing that you can learn overnight will grant you an even greatest capacity over time. Making your own mark and reaping what you sow will serve you better than simply having it handed to you on a plate. If you wish to change your environment for the better, or simply seek to pursue a new one, it is essential that you ascertain the vision of what this new environment should look like.  If you were to ask most people what theirs would be, it would be a warmer climate, beside the sea, with nothing much more to do besides relax. This sounds great, but more like a holiday than a more permanent position. Although the contrast to our daily working lives makes it seem all the more appealing, you’d soon be wishing for more purpose and fulfilment once you’d had enough of simply drinking cocktails and not having a care in the world.

Distinguishing influence,

Good influence

If it didn’t sound so much like the opening chapter of a self-health book, I would have gone for ‘Positive Influence’ though, forever the cynic, I equally account just as much of all this ‘quasi positivity’ amidst all the other sources of influence conflating further confusion.

These are the things that MOTIVATE for no other means beside motivation. Giving people a reason to get off their arse and do something, rather than just acknowledging in awe at what they can never attain. It’s easy to like and share, INSPO, rather than true INSPIRATION, igniting a new belief rather than copying or emulating something that’s already been done, Plato. Rather than categorising this unattainable standard that people are either chasing or defying out of spite, whether we like it or not, standards keep us competitive, and though we may no longer live in caves or mud huts, hotels or mansions, being all too often content makes our imprinted purpose of life merely an unbecoming spectacle to our survival.

Whether the reminder of this fact is a gentle or obvious one, either way we GROW into our ENVIRONMENT. It may not always be easy to change our environment or influence it to the degree that we would like, though it may be worth noting that this may be a stunting condition to the ultimate success or growth of your potential.

Bad influence

Anyone or any thing that makes you feel unworthy or insignificant simply because they have something you don’t. For a lot of people scrolling through Instagram this will be the feeling they endure most of the time. Unless there’s something you desperately want to change or improve about yourself, don’t be quantify what you have on what you haven’t, rather what you are and are not. Things can be improved or replaced, upgraded or downsized, but they surely will not effect the moving parts underneath.

If all of what you see is fitness, travel, food or lifestyle’s of those seemingly better than your own, ask yourself whether it is motivating you to do better or making you feel more disgruntled with your current situation. It’s no one else’s responsibility but your own.

For me I used to have a disposition with social media in that things aren’t always what they seem; falsely advertised sugar coated, but all comes to light in reality anyway. You cannot hide behind a good lense or editing software in real life, so it’s even harder to maintain than simply being yourself. If that is not enough, you either have to just work harder or get much better with a camera.

On that note, my next blog will consider one of my favourite topics,

EXPECTATION AND REALITY.

Follow my journey on jakedarcyfitness

Jake 👊

 

‘The Grass isn’t Greener’

Lifestyle, Special

It only takes observing something which seems better than our current situation to think we’re either missing out or that we’ve got it wrong.

How often in occasions like these do we question our purpose for doing things? As tediousness grows, so does the attraction of not doing it at all, especially as it seems to get more difficult in nature. Imagine it this way, greenest, and the associations we can take from such a green, suspect in colour and bearing an artificial shine. I’m not urging you to pick bruised apples from the shop, to boycott the current aesthetic of apples or defy your natural attraction to things, because that is what should ultimately inspire your decisions.

What I am referring to is distinguishing NEED from GREED, and the haste to whichever decision takes precedence. It would be nice to base ALL of our decisions on the scale of TASTIEST, NICEST, MOST attractive, MOST expensive or BEST. It may seem like the MOST attractive option at the time but that doesn’t mean it is the BEST FOR YOU, NOW.

The grass isn’t greener.

Have you ever sat and watched someone eat when you are already full, no matter what it is, it doesn’t look that appetising. If it were only this simple when having to steer clear of somewhat more appealing options AT THE TIME. Knowing that it’s only temporary, and how the benefit or lacktherof usually outweighs the cost ANYWAY.

On the flipside, the same can be said for being in good shape, having kids, or simply having enough money to sustain all of it. You see plenty of surface snippets of what it would be like, stories of success, but often not behind the scenes. Besides putting in the initial work to obtain anything to which you desire, my advice would be to enjoy the benefits of doing so as much as you can, while you can, along with the process, as you may not always get chance to. We look at the end goal and excite the anticipation of finally finishing something though it is often all the time in between that needs to be savoured.

This would essentially be enjoying your side, making it as green and fruitful as possible, as it may not always be that way. I think we fail to savour some of life’s simplest pleasure’s on the basis of this fact, they are simple. It may be somewhat easier to attain than other feats that come with various stresses and complications along the way, which presents this contradiction of what we strive to achieve the most. Happiness or Content.

Happiness and content, or more so being content, are often transient. We can achieve happiness in many ways, yet feeling content is an emotion harder to describe yet easier to achieve. I believe feeling content more often than happy is healthy. It is easy to be happy if you throw enough money at it or physiologically trick your body into feeling happier for a small amount of time but it only lasts as long as you notice.

If we always think the grass is greener and succumb to every other means of transport than our own two feet, we slowly become passengers to the ominous power of influence. This will come to be my next topic. Though we politely converge and support the successes of other people’s desire’s, in turn we refute our own. Ultimately, there are no bounds to the superlatives that dictate attraction, cost or BETTER means of living in a world that evolves with enticement.

So aside from the obvious contrasts of the grass actually being greener; pizza over porridge, holiday’s over a shift at work and every ‘would rather…’ analogy you could possibly muster up, make your own mind up. You are an adult. You don’t have to eat what everyone else is having, nor do you have to partake in anything you don’t want to.

Remember,

the grass isn’t greener.

Follow my fitness journey on Instagram jakedarcyfitness

Jake 👊

Eating for Convenience or Performance

Lifestyle, Special

If you were planning for a big day ahead; a schedule of important meetings, a hike, or even just a long day of festivities, they all require the energy to do so.

If you went into a meeting without a coffee, a decent breakfast or whatever else your morning ritual consists of, would you find yourself unable to function capably?

If you only packed enough food or water to last you half the journey, would you enjoy it half as much?

And finally, if you didn’t line your stomach with something solid before a heavy drink, could you make it till the evening or barely scrape through the day?

While all these instances vary in their role and function, work, pleasure, limits, none, they all share this contrast of either performing well or not at all. It goes back to what I’ve been saying about this issue with performing the BARE MINIMUM, SOMEthing better than NOthing, but it’s neither any consolation or justification of not feeling or being your best.

Unless I delay my first meal of the day a little bit later, I will always eat breakfast, I used to have a love hate relationship with porridge, in that I loved feeling nicely full, but hated having to wait for it to cook, cool down and eat. This was a whole ten minutes of my day I wouldn’t get back, for the most part I would have took the extra time in bed if it didn’t mean going hungry, to now, being one of the highlights of my day. Of course this comes from being being on prep, appreciating both the food and energy a bowl of oats provides much more than the average person with even less time than I do.

Yes, protein bars, snack bars, ready made drinks and the like are better than completely nothing, but they are GARBAGE compared to real food. Look at the amount of sugar and refined components that contribute to the great long lists of ingredients on the back, your body still has to break down all the things that warrant them being able to sit on the shelf for often prolonged periods, so be mindful of a mere easy protein hit. In addition to this, Focusing solely on the protein content of foods throughout the day and rationalising them OVER carbs and fats is ridiculous, yes you do need protein especially if you are under eating or training often enough, but it shouldn’t be the determiner of all said food choices.

Taking the bare minimum approach aside from food is equally damaging, scraping away at things you’d rather not do, compromising energy away from the things you would. For what it’s worth neither are really getting the most out your potential. It is this lacklustre for anything besides that which we enjoy ultimately down to TIME? the very thing we are all desperate to have more of? If so then, how much more of it would we have if we performed well at EVERYTHING, not just things we enjoy?

It’s easier said than done I know, laughable and shivering with optimism I am at the thought of consummating just as much enthusiasm washing the pots as I do when I exercise, though there would’ve been times where even Matilda would’ve wished she had a dishwasher.

This again comes down to putting the right fuel in, forget food for the moment, simply combust the conviction to rationalises the mundanity of tasks, accepting them, as opposed to questioning why you’re wasting time at all.

Now that that’s out the way,

COOK YOUR OWN FOOD.

Hopefully I’ve not just lost half my readership.

If you’re still here it shows that you’re getting the point. The process before and after cooking is one that’s bittersweet, especially when dieting, the smell making you hungry, having to clean up when you’d rather be resting. Although, there’s definitely worse things you could be doing. It’s a pretty minor undertaking in the vastness of things certainly more difficult and painful, it all comes down to weighing things up solely on cost:benefit, the cost being an hour or your day vs the day being undernourished.

You decide which you’d rather have in the meantime,

Follow my journey on Instagram, jakedarcyfitness

Jake 💪

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

Dedication and Moderation

Fitness, Lifestyle, Special

Things that are difficult usually require some level of dedication. For those of you that have a life plan, aspirations for the future or simply own a list of things you’re in the process of ticking off, the first few goals you make are usually the easiest. Going back to getting comfortable being uncomfortable, your goals should be just the same, don’t stick to the easy stuff because it makes you feel good, spend time doing the things you know you need to work on or you probably never will. While daily feats are important for improving your confidence and providing you with enough momentum to make them habitual, satisfying the higher demand rather than the fine print will pose to surpass the sticking points or plateaus.

We know that body image standards have considerably increased and people are now looking at themselves in the mirror with more insecurities and less confidence with their bodies, it seems to be that inadequacy fuels more workouts than dedication ever will. The guilt tripping to get you there, phantom injuries to talk you out of it and justifiers rather than the means to stick to anything at all. Whether it’s an individual part to play or the current meet yourself half way outlook on all things body positivity, it is this over acceptance of bad habits which has made for moderation being yet another excuse to add to the list.

We observe influencers and the like set the standard for optimal living; look good, lead a ‘balanced’ lifestyle and let your hair down once in a while. This is great FOR THEM, and the premise is usually as resonant as it is applicable to the masses, but there lies the problem, satisfying an impressionable norm with relatable words and not the actions required. How many fitness personalities do you think break their diets, front their impeccable dedication and make you feel bad about yours? In the same regard how many portray an image which satisfies the norm of their followers before their own health and pressures to maintain an image for the sake of getting paid, in compliments or otherwise.

Expectation and reality,

I personally adopted the ‘flexible lifestyle’ for a long time. I advertised that this was my reality, proudly, so that I could encourage others to do the same. Calories in, calories out, work hard play hard. Always letting myself and others justify that I can always make up for it tomorrow, one drink, one bad meal CANT be THAT bad for you. I enjoyed having balance; hard work during the week, not necessarily a blowout when things came around but certainly not things conducive to my dedication in the gym. I wanted everyone else to feel how I felt, content, that I could do both, but in my head ultimately I was neither out of shape nor in, to others maybe but not what I wanted for myself. It was only until years down the line I thought ‘hang on, for someone that trains as much as I do, I don’t look much different’ I frequently received compliments for being in shape although this didn’t do me any favours, confirming that what I was doing was working but not to the rate which I anticipated years before. I was probably known for being ‘that guy’ in college, like many others that was always eating chicken, drinking protein shakes and lifting weights any chance I could. I didn’t do it for any other reason besides betterment of myself and the fact that I enjoyed the feeling of improving my body with hard work.

While I wanted other people to share the same outlook, get results and be more confident with themselves, genetically it was probably easier for ME to stay relatively lean most of the time, than it was for others around me. To which nothing less than preaching what I thought would be useful knowledge to everyone else wanting to look like me in the same time would come to fall on deaf ears. While I protested that the right amount of commitment would bring results, I observed the void that I had created by spending much more time on my body than most people were prepared to do. I’d much rather be straight up with people, rather than try and convince people that they could look like me if they simply followed my program, like many other’s do.

The reality is, it takes determination to pursue the difficult, no measure of moderation or guilt free cheat meals, low calorie ice cream or quick fix methods will get you there any easier, which is a tough pill that most people cannot swallow.

Looking at the time frame, I wonder what I would look like if I was completely dedicated to what I was doing THEN rather than picking and choosing when to be, now that I cannot hide away from the impending scrutiny and judgement to which I put myself under. Now that there is no room for moderation, I fully understand how much easier it is to be dedicated, with nothing influencing or tempting me in the slightest. I may often joke about the kind of foods that I will eventually break my diet with but its simply decided by yes or no, rather than maybe a little bit. This all or nothing approach is what a lot of people would benefit from and NEED in order to see just how good or conversely otherwise their willpower truly is.

Expectations are broken when you post a good physique update and get ‘caught’ in the queue at five guys. Cheat meal or not, the illusive veil of expectation and hypocrisy will be lifted eventually, usually for the sake of self indulgence. There comes a point in time to which you have to decide whether you’re in or you’re out, committed or not, as your body and your attitude will reflect this in the long run. This is what moderation does, gives you a false sense of security, the best of both worlds, great at the time but not when it is at the expense of your effort. Why is it that generally most of us can only relate to those that preach BALANCE and not so much those that seem so far beyond our capabilities that we just sit back and observe in awe. Even someone with an infallible image has to have a break sometimes  If you are overweight, exercise more, if you want to put on weight, eat more. Don’t be fooled by someone that merely looks better for advise, they can help themselves but may not necessarily have your best interests at heart. Pipe dreams and more appealing offers which make for less work in less time, maybe they can do it, but to you it merely justifies doing less rather than more.

Dedication is something you can’t turn off and on. We all need justification or at least some bearing on the decisions we make and the people we make them with, but what if balance was the very thing that jeopardises your dedication further? Everything in moderation is great for the average person, while too much of one thing isn’t always ideal. How average is tolerable to you? If someone referred to you as average would you be happy about it or have something to say? In that same regard much moderation or AVERAGE EFFORT is ok as opposed to how dedicated you have to be to actually see things through? There’s no optimal figure or sweet spot which determines whether you’re goals are dedicated or flexible, training 7 days a week isn’t necessarily better than 5. Only you can truly know how much is best for you and whether you’re consistently missing the mark without acknowledgement.

For those of you that aren’t aware, the date for my competition has been moved forward a week, which means I have 6 weeks to go until I get on stage for the first time as a Novice. This isn’t ideal news considering I still have at lot of work to do, though there’s a silver lining to everything life throws at you, you cannot control many things in life, only your temperament under pressure and the way you carry yourself on through. Ultimately my goal is to get in the best shape I have ever been in, get on stage and do it all with a smile on my face. No one does this shit if they don’t enjoy it, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of my journey on Instagram.

Jake.