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

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New You or Just New Year?

Fitness, Lifestyle

Picture this, less than a few weeks from now, it’s January 2019, Christmas will be a distant memory and all the guilt-free-ness of the last month? months? year? May now seem like a real mountain of a task. The thing is, whatever plan of action you are willing to take now, realistically, ask yourself these two questions,

Are you going to be able to STICK to it?

Are you going to be able to ENJOY it? 

If the answer to both is realistically NO

Have a look at the things you CAN and WILL stick to FIRST, do it WITHOUT FAIL , and see how you that makes you feel. Here are some simple habits that you can implement to the New Year. I’m going to make the point of  (AT LEAST )

 Walk somewhere you usually would have drove to (once a week)

Try an exercise that you haven’t done before (once a week)

Choose just ONE DAY to cut out the things you know may be hindering your progress 

Choose just ONE DAY to cook your own food or only eat things that are prepared by YOU.

Leave your phone on charge in another room in order to sleep. 

Do something that you know is HARD, A RUN, A WORKOUT, A CLASS, NO BS.

Things for each day

EAT BREAKFAST (UNLESS FASTING or there’s a good reason for it)

Plan ahead what you are going to eat BESIDES the most convenient option

Something green on your plate 

Be full from whole foods and not from snacking, if there’s room for chocolate there’s room for anything. 

Track your BEST and WORST day of calories in Myfitnesspal

One extra glass of water 

I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly difficult about any of the above, nor do I think it will be hard to stick to, which may pose as a good test for anyone that needs some structure day to day. Getting put on a diet plan or training regime that’s going to require energy and a lot of willpower isn’t always the best option if it’s coming from a place of doing very little. Start by granting yourself any of the above, whether it’s daily or just one day of the week to test how corrupting your mind is when it comes to food and the like. If it is easily persuaded, a more rigorous approach will be necessary as opposed to structure on the odd day, as you may only be motivated by seeing the immediate reward of your effort.

Ultimately it’s all well and good me telling you what you COULD do besides what you ARE ACTUALLY going to do for yourself, is it going to take another year going backwards or can you put a fresh start to the OLD YOU that says YES to everything knowing that it isn’t always the best for you. 

My best advice for 2019 is start small and build on it, don’t push beyond your current capabilities in order to see quick results, they only last as long as you can keep at it. If you’ve been out of the game for a while don’t try and do what you used to, nor should you expect those same things to bring you the same results. 

I will be taking on more clients for Personal Training and running a beginner class in the New Year for anyone that is new to training or just wants to expand on their knowledge with fitness, so get in touch if either of these options are for you. 

ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF PURE GYM IN JANUARY:
ARE YOU A 365’ER OR 30 DAY TRIAL’ER?

Jake 

Lifestyle Changes and ‘Bulking’

Lifestyle

‘Calories are Calories’, ‘If it fits your Macros’, ‘Get a bulk on for the boys’ these are all probably things you’ve heard before when the topic refers to a caloric surplus. This surplus is something I have previously mentioned in ‘Should I eat more?’ being that if we aren’t losing or gaining we are just maintaining a weight that has taken almost a lifetime for our bodies to adapt to. So will it take a lifetime to undo if we allow it? For each of the lifestyle factors that contribute to our total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) what is the best approach to spark a positive response from our bodies, sustaining thereafter the initial month of results? Fad diets, cutting carbs out for prolonged periods and the U-Turn-like switch of habit may provide quick results but does this come without an impending need to replace one thing for another? Swapping whole foods for replacement shakes, stopping smoking and then eating twice as much or ‘fasting’ but not really putting the food back in?

Depending on the person and the immediacy of a needed lifestyle change I would say a   ‘gradual’ over the ‘cold turkey’ approach when it comes to aforementioned diet changes. This should provide more control over decision making rather than creating an erratic ‘forbidden fruit-like’ relationship which can only really end one way. I recently watched an advert for Galaxy chocolate, a versatile premise being one of living each day and savouring life’s moments, a great marketing hook for a Chocolate ‘addict’ with whom each day would literally be sweeter. So what about when other food now seems flavourless and a normal meal is always missing something afterward, could the daily ‘sweetener’ approach be a habit which creeps further into the days to which seem somewhat tasteless without.

So how does this relate to Bulking? Well as the chocolate lover justifies an even sweeter time watching a film or adding a treat to their lunch-break, the ‘bulker’ justifies ‘calories’ More calories at every opportunity; more energy, building more muscle and thus burning more fat in the long run? Even sweeter right? Well where do we draw the line for bulking and just pure greed?

Ascertain your surplus, plan out the ‘bad calories’ and work them in around exercise so that they’re being used for fuel and not for fat stores. Be clever about ‘cheat meals’ as they can impede on the rest of your diet day to day. If you eat a large pizza at 6pm filling you up to the brim whilst still having the rest of the days food to consume, this will make going back to clean calories twice as hard and bitterly resentful. Asses changes to your body composition, does your skin look more ‘watery’ and flat as opposed to tight and vascular, note how said meals and even high sugars both spike and sap energy which you’ll have to sleep off. Sleep being the key to recovery, surpassing the justification merely throwing back more convenient protein and recovery supplementation. Finally, the additional calories that are essentially going to assist in building more muscle will need to hold on and sustain on your ‘new’ frame for a sufficient time in order for it to stay when you cut. Therefore only getting the additional calories from junk food –instead of calorically dense foods– will both hinder your energy levels cutting back down and jeopardise your body composition that has only initially been leaving you more ‘full’ from the extra carb-dense treats and not from solid muscle or what you think is ‘#gainzz’

Bulk smart folks,

Jake 💪

Persistence & Plateaus

Lifestyle, Special

Persist- To go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning.

Being persistent is a trait that can go both ways, we can either persist at defying the resistance we receive or continue to buckle under the same pressures that keep us confined to this forbidding continuum of resistance. A norm which is one forthcoming on the now millennial immediacy of all things rewarded, not earned. With every meal we do not have to cook, pin we need no longer enter and journeys we can take as passengers rather than drivers, is this convenience in time serving us well or do we now only sought after the most convenient appropriations and pursuits?

As a race we are becoming evermore persistently lazy; effort being our biggest opposition, our bodies reflecting our importunity to the easier option, and health, inevitably, the warning. We do not attribute the physical and psychological impediments of working in fields non-conducive to our happiness, nor do we anticipate how much our mind and body has to operate synergistically alongside our Neolithic traditions. It is only until we burnout that we then have to justify the NEED for a break. So when we are working on ourselves, why then is it so easy to justify a BREAK, to lose focus, to be distracted? It seems that no matter how much down time we award ourselves, it is never enough, and so the time to which we focus on working, whether that be for someone else, drags and our own time, dwindles.

The entirely resolute and stubborn approaches to downtime occupying those that simply cannot commit or see the simplest of tasks through without giving up is impressively persistent, proof that we can be persistent, even if it is persistently quitting. So why do we quit? What distracts us? Is it the fear of failing and being judged? Or if there even is a reward, does it reflect the time spent doing it? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Technology has granted us with a facility of instant gratification, a cyclical navigation of short cuts and queue jumps to the ultimate destination of contentment. Does getting there faster only gives us more time to revel in the superficial glory of feel good chemicals? A depressing overcast brightened up by a passing sunshine of serotonin showers. Chasing this light from the now shadowy pits of only known similar feats, even more time to think of your next ‘best?’ The suckling appetite for faster turnover, more contentment and even bigger success.  The next best unhappiness or all time boredom? The next best date or the next best break-up? The need for constant entertainment and stimulus, entitlement and appreciation, self worth and in turn self pity. Plateaus.

Plateau

a region of little or no change in a graphic representation

: a relatively stable level, period, or condition
So although people consider a plateau to be a negative thing, plateauing literally means being stationary, but when you’re someone who’s always looking to improve, being stationary may as well be going backwards.
How do I pass through a plateau?
There are more potential outcomes in a game of chess than there are atoms in the universe. When two people reach a stalemate, it is a reflection of how two potentially winning outcomes impede on the other, ‘I cannot win, therefore they cannot either’
Are you playing your own game or is someone playing for you? Are you making the same moves and bringing on the same outcome? Are you playing with the intention of moving forward or are you reluctant to risk leaving what you have behind? Whatever potentially winning outcome you are seeking to follow right now, improve it until it no longer brings any benefit to you and then start again with each calculated move at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

Earning yourself a break or just taking one?

Lifestyle, Special

-4KG down The Damage

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…If anything, as I’ve always felt obliged to go to the gym, I began to question why I’d conditioned myself to be autonomously motivated in this regard… most of the rewards to which are those under the surface of superficial reasons why people obsess over their bodies… Even more importantly could it eventually be undone? Well the answer I came to learn would be NO… I would not be able to undo my constant hunger to improve and expose myself to experiences that would take me out of my comfort zone at the expense of time, time that could be spent climbing any such ladder of my choosing. It has been useful to step out of the consuming bubble of comfort that we all surround ourselves with when we are unsure of the very extent of our potential. This no-brainer progression for me would be expanding my social media to bring in more traffic and in turn clients, though it would be misleading of me to post training videos that I would not be doing myself, knowing that it would only create a void between myself and those wishing to better themselves. I do not regret refusing to be a passenger to expectation nor do I want to protest the extent of my will to the point of arrogance, but I do plan on being even better this time round.

 
After seeing how little my body has changed despite literally throwing it in the deep end, I have only consolidated just how hard I have worked for it and equally how long it would take to undo. This is a sound enough justification of being confident in your decisions beforehand, to which the outcome will only pave a more definite path of understanding. I don’t have any sympathy for those that aren’t prepared to take a leap of faith for themselves and be confident in their justification of decisions; both potentially destructive or surprisingly constructive.
For me every trivial but necessary decision that is conducive to self improvement is a mere accessory to the grandeur of success. Life is too short to stress about the outcome of your decisions when they seem to detract from your contentment, to the point of it sucking away all of your energy, we often need to take a step back and understand that a break is sometimes necessary.
Before I left for Belize I’d never looked better and the way it made me feel was something I would love to make happen for anyone that truly wishes it for themselves. Wanting more for yourself and pursuing a better situation despite how saturated such means of doing so may seem, there will always be people that question your decisions either way. Judging what is actually good for you and your own questioning is equally as important as theirs. I think my initial point was identifying the fact that it’s ok to be sceptic about doing something different, whether it is with yourself, your situation, body, mistakes to which should not instil a revelling such a revelling in self pity.
Ultimately I do believe that we are entitled a break from the expectations of our decisions; the control of limitations, the excess of imagining a better life for yourself and then actually taking steps to make it work. For anyone looking at doing exactly that I challenge you to at least see what is the worst thing that can happen.
This is my first challenge…
Take a picture of yourself today no matter what you look like now or your experience with fitness, look at it and ask yourself whether you could be better.
If the answer is yes, prove everyone wrong and do something about it…
We are all waiting to see what you can do 👊

Jake

 

Consistency>Intensity

Lifestyle

From what we understand of motivation; proving reason to our actions, this becomes redundant when actions are not met with change. By this change, I am referring to positive change –results– indications of our efforts, reassurance that what we are doing is worthwhile. This is synonymous to the once referred ‘Sweat:Benefit’ and lends to the fact that even a determined attitude may not always serve us well in contrast to the expense of our effort. In simple terms, without the ability to quantify the exchange rate of the currency ‘sweat’ how would we know whether much of our energy is soon to be carelessly invested? Can we often to be so set on pursuing or achieving something in the short term that it detracts us from the ever looming end goal. Often those with a big enough reason to break bad habits and try their hand at regular exercise will likely commit themselves to difficult choices under the guise that change is likely to come with such habits suppressed and that alone. If the timeframe of said goals and aspirations for personal development is short, the sustainability of holding onto a certain weight, losing a certain amount every week or seeing improvements in strength will bear the same duration. If it has taken 10 years for the body to become morbidly obese or lose 10 stone of fat, each contrasting result in time will ultimately seek to undo itself. This satisfies a system which adheres to a constant internal environment, adapted over the course of a lifetime to keep us functioning at optimal capacity for the lifestyle we lead.

The truth is no one thing will have sufficient bearing on overall health just as no one car can extinguish fuel emissions by swapping out a single engine. The combination of better decisions alongside a strategy  that is conducive to change may collectively move the larger wheels as opposed to the smaller, cog. To see a change which will then reinforce the efforts of everything else in favour, consistency should remain a constant. Intensity or higher output, a factor most indicative to that of top athletes and the like, is something that can hinder consistency through ‘aimless’ effort. If an Olympic athlete only ever tested their podium-worthy throw and nothing else in between, the more humble throwing teammates would soon become their successors. It is the progression and reinforcement of a thousand lighter throws that come to build the eventual weightier record, lessons learned in the process and added to create the finished product. So what does this mean for the other majority of us that do not plan on setting records or committing to a life of sport? If anything can be said for the sustainability of success, it is the clamorous journey that paves the path with each gritty footstep or a multitude of jumps. The latter represent risks that one can take in order to surpass competition but are also instances of trying something new in order to break the mould of stubborn conformity. The inclination to front a thousand complex ideas as opposed to one easy one? Taking the long way round instead of the shortcut purely because of difficulty? Would this be something many consider to have any practical application? I am not suggesting that we run a marathon without any prior training because it is hard, but test the boundaries of our threshold with things we may not have a natural aptitude for, inspiring new processes and igniting dormant aspects of our predetermined makeup.  That’s enough evolution for one day.

So do the consistent throws come to surpass the brute force of intensity on the bounds of averages? The two coincide to litter points along a neat fringe of records, to be broken at the expense of someone delivering a better combination of these two factors, a point that each warrant a solid groundwork but also depend heavily on each-other collectively as a unit;

10/12/8/10

8/8/8/8/8/

Here the end goal of 40 is met in less time, is the reward upon reaching the goal to be as short lived as the journey or will it be more sustainable to apply consistent effort at the same intensity? This is something one can look at or apply to an approach which tackles each opportunity of progression with maximum effort. I am not advising to operate at a much lower intensity in order to see change but identify how the bulk of your energy may be utilised in some areas that could do with an adjustment period. Simply put we cannot physically operate at 100% all of the time without eventually having to ‘crash’ –sleep– imagine the state of change, whether that be weight loss, gain or changes to body composition, residing in a dormant state, in need of rest and yet equally awaiting a purpose to wake.

 

 

Should I Do Cardio?

Lifestyle

This comes at a time to which the topic at hand is becoming much more significant to my routine. In previous posts I have discussed an number of different ‘Should I…”s in the hope of shedding light on things I have tried, their benefits and whether they can have practical application to your lifestyle. Although cardio is something that always finds itself on the back-burner of the to-do list, it is definitely something that simply cannot be overlooked as far as improving general physical fitness capacity and body composition. While it is possible to be reasonably lean without having to buckle over your feet with boredom for an hour everyday, there’s certainly more to cardio than just the monotony we deem it so.

Take a typical high intensity resistance session; physically demanding, prolonged rep ranges and little rest, do we find ourselves exerted in later stages from said components or are we simply not fit enough? Would having a better CV capacity enable us to work beyond the barrier of breathlessness? Recovery and resilience between sets, especially at the upper limits of ones threshold may certainly be a useful feat to muster, notwithstanding everything else that comes with output at 100% or close to it. How much would that extra time award us in hindsight? more time under tension, more, reps, less can’t, more do.

HIIT- The buzzword of all buzzwords, the ‘H’ being ‘High’ and the first ‘I, Intensity’ Not, ‘Slow>maybe a bit harder>back to slow when I get tired>repeat’. This should be at the very top 90-100% of your threshold followed by an intermittent recovery period, the shorter this period, the more difficult and the more conditioned you will become to output at a higher rate with less rest. Despite Joe Wickes and other celebrity trainers milking HIIT, it is challenging and does break up the monotony of continuous cardio training. However, people seem to quantify HIIT work in sweat –I am sweating a lot therefore it must be doing something– rather than applying variations of different intensities in a systematic fashion, monitoring its effect on A. CV fitness and B. Body composition because ultimately, B is the end game for most people.

Another issue with ONLY doing HIIT is that everything else will now feel less responsive and/or not as difficult, and not all exercises are effective when performed in this fashion. General conditioning work and anything that gets you heart racing enough can bode well with everything else that comes with staying fit, but without being able to quantify where you’re at, you will struggle to gauge where you can realistically improve.

Take a 500m row, this should take most active people less than 2 minutes to complete, in and amongst a warmup row or HIIT training, such a test will gauge where you’re currently at. Performing this to time after a cycle of continuous or interval training will further indicate how quickly you are recovering –the closer the base time, recovery must be improving–  This can also be done at 1 and 2,500 metres if you tend to do more continuous cardio, which surprisingly burns into fat stores at a much more greater capacity than HIIT.

So how many hours a week should I do cardio?

Depending on your fitness goals, having an active job may suffice for general fitness albeit the lifestyle and food choices one may surfeit to conflict. I would recommend doing some form of physical activity each day and something that challenges you on three specific days i.e

Monday- 30 mins/ 1 hour continuous bike

Wednesday- 2,500m row for time

Friday- Stepper or Elliptical intervals 10-15 minutes at 50%- 90%

40/20- 40 work/20 rest

or
30/30- 30”/30”

or
20/10- 20”/20”

Rather than me protest the importance of cardio, fully aware of people’s distaste with monotony and/or hard work, getting the amount right will work wonders for your overall body composition, whether that be in conjunction with heavy weight training, yoga or all competitive sports.

Now that I have completed my further studies for level 4 PT I do plan to post at least every week on various topics which may be of use to active individuals and fitness enthusiasts. I will be featuring 30 day challenges and transformation packages to purchase on my new website so keep your eyes peeled and follow @jakedarcyfitness on IG if you haven’t already.

Jake 👊

 

 

 

 

Transformations, Criticism & Expectations

Lifestyle

I had planned to keep this next post completely relevant to the topic at hand, considering that fact that most people proceed into the scrolling abyss of Facebook when what they happen to read doesn’t make them cry with laughter or scream with outrage in the first paragraph. Nevertheless, and acknowledging the atrocities that unfolded earlier this week, it is inevitable for one to look at their current reality retrospectively, swiftly realising the sheer abundance of what they have, knowing what others have lost. Despite all the monstrosities, hate and scandal that has erupted on many of the social platforms, I have never been so grateful to experience such an overwhelming sensation of pride and unity with the people of this town. Forget how well-worded and eloquent raw emotion can be transcribed, the flux of inspiring words and heartfelt posts that have graced my newsfeed has left me in tremendous awe. Without further acknowledging those that continue to disease the lungs of a peaceful world with ignorance, It is certainly refreshing to see how once modest opinions and expressions have relented despite criticism.

It is this criticism that will bear to be the crux of ‘Transformations and Expectations’

First of all, we must quantify the purpose of the physical transformation.

In relation to my field of ‘expertise’ physical results are EVERYTHING. They suggest that one, or a multitude of things in the body have improved, so much so, that they can be seen. Without tangible reason to believe what we are doing is 1. Effective and 2. Worthwhile, what could warrant the enormity of effort that goes into making goals a reality? I would have loved to own a collection of old photos indicative of habitually letting loose and looking my worst purely to illustrate a contrast, but unfortunately I have always insisted on chasing my best. Equally, I would love to have an expensive camera, a film crew behind me condensing the superlatives of my body down to a single perfect image for IG, but unfortunately this is far from the case. While I cannot say that I am not partial to a party, I don’t think I could justify convincing one of my clients that they can fast-track a route closer to ‘success’ whilst insisting on a life without discipline, impending denial. Everyone operates at different speeds, the tracks of some longer than others, some finding themselves delayed on the way to their destination and others failing to ever leave the station. To base your own wealth of successes on that of others would be like *insert the Einstein quote about a fish judging its ability to climb a tree* Therefore don’t be thrown off by illusive examples of those that can afford to get ‘out of shape’ and intermittently lose it just to prove a point and get paid to do so.

In terms of how the latter ‘Expectations’ can take precedence in ones reality of fierce judgement and criticism, it is essential that these do not exist unless you make it so. If you happen to be a girl and post a seemingly ‘shameless’ progress picture in a bikini made from fishing wire, expect and anticipate that you will more than likely be judged and criticised than praised. Equally, if you choose to act, dress or  convey yourself in a manner that is not conducive to societal expectations of ‘black, 16, y’o, male’ or ‘white, 50 y’o, female’, expect an onslaught of criticism and embrace the fact that you do not need to conform to be contented.

I will now conclude with what may later come to be regarded as the somewhat mental ‘metamorphosis’

It’s all well and good having a great body, plenty of money in the bank, a nice car and the tools to carve out a stable life, but the novelty of all physical entities will eventually ensue just as briefly as the road to them, long. I’m confident on the fact that I no longer sit on the fence with regards to the great juxtaposition of mental and physical wealth, albeit I refuse to protest myself as an example of how to attain the happy medium. I believe that securing such a presence in a better reality is one with a firm acknowledgement of change and accepting it without contest. If a hectic work schedule consumes enough of your time to make exercise seem like a distant fantasy, insist on making it a priority when the opportunity presents itself instead of adding it to another weeks of ‘maybe next weeks’

–This is not just related to exercise– The mental capacity required to see something through without seeing tangible results, having to justify hours that could be spent earning more money or maintaining relationships with people, is one that cannot be quantified or matched by physical entities. Do so with the intention to progress on both ends of the spectrum rather than treading water in the ironic depths of shallowness.

Jake

👊

Injury Prevention & Realistic Goal Setting

Lifestyle, Supplementation

Having long-term injuries and facing various other barriers to exercise can certainly be a frustrating hindrance on ones potential goals. Do I take it easy for a few months? How much of my progress is going to be sacrificed during said rest period? What am I actually working towards? These are all questions faced by active individuals, passionate about bettering themselves each day, even if it does not bear further application to a particular sport or goal. Ultimately –and this is something I have come to identify when assessing my own diet and supplementation for the purpose of injury prevention– at some point our bodies will naturally want to start putting the brakes on. Many of us that have an incline to competitive/impact sports even at a non-professional level, will soon have to weigh up the risks and further implications said activity may have in the future.

Although I had dabbled in a number of sports before going to high school, when I was first introduced to Rugby, it seemed all of the traits impeding me in other fields could finally be put to some good use. I was never the most technical player, crediting the entirety of a game on how many big shots I could put on people without getting caught offside, even if that meant getting blindsided nearly even time. In hindsight, even picking up the odd sprain and taking a few bad knocks on the knees was enough to put my training –off the pitch– on hold for a good few weeks, is this really worth it? >The question that has to be applied to almost anything with the potential to pose further complications, moving forward. As I have continued to reiterate the importance of building a solid foundation and consolidating good technique with volume, a similar crossroad has presented itself –go heavier, increased risk of injury? go lighter, increased risk of complacency and plateau? This is the point to which both the egotistical and logical platforms of the brain collide, an outcome determined by whichever system has control.

In relation to creating an ideal environment for the body to withstand stress and recover accordingly, injury prevention is also a matter that can be aided through sound nutrition and relevant supplementation –regardless of whether you’re committed to a particular training regime for a short period or in it for the long hall. Then there’s always pre-emptive approach; wearing knee wraps/sleeves for squats, always incorporating a sufficient warm up and maintaining a fluid range of movement to name just a few staples of good practice. My point resides more so on the side of  planning and conditioning the body for stress, before shocking it into an eventual submission. Meaning that if you aren’t a strength athlete or Powerlifter, prolong the time and weight to which you may only be able to do a handful, for ‘special occasions’ if you like. These will be coming on the back of absolute consistency in all aspects and nothing else. When you look around the gym and observe the expanse of people in all shapes and sizes, notice how their training approach reflects on their physique? The water babies and the monsters? Will repeated and continuous overload do their joints any favours? Probably not. Before we get onto the second point of setting realistic goals, take the time to consider the implications of your particular training method in its entirety; risks as well as benefits, managing them accordingly. If your goal is strength, be sure to factor in de-load weeks, ensure longer rest times between sets and do not let adrenaline warrant training with injuries. On the flip-side, prepare for higher rep ranges and tempos with a relevant warm-up that imitates the more ballistic movements to avoid overloading tendons/joints specifically.

Setting goals for a lot of people is exciting; marking the groundwork for possibilities in ‘X’ amount of days/weeks/months, but setting realistic goals is something that comes with experience of progressive capability and adherence. Plainly put, ‘effective’ goals would never be constructed by averages and guess-work. Bench Press, WEEK1-110/WEEK2-120/WEEK3-130 does not mean that you should be pressing 140 by the following week. As I previously mentioned the implications of adrenaline during such a decision, note that just because you can throw every ounce of strength into the short time of of a rep does not mean that you can lift it correctly. I’ve already narrowed down my readership by now so I know I won’t be offending anyone with this question, Would you rather say you can press 150,badly and look like shit? Or, comfortably rack out reps of even half the amount and continue to see positive changes. This is what it all boils down to, respecting the fact that particular sports and athletes would be required to consistently train heavy to satisfy a particular total, but these guys probably don’t plan on looking like the average dude. In terms of setting realistic weight goals and the time frame in which you expect to be successful, be aware of how losing half a stone one week may not gage your ability to do the same the next. Just as one cannot be expected to add on an additional 10KG  each week working up to a 1RM. The two topics of the title do go hand in hand, in the sense that setting realistic goals, whether that be weight or strength, will alleviate and prevent too much stress being induced by the body, we do only get given one, treat it with respect.

Jake  👊