5 Ways to Improve Creativity

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Find your most productive time of the day.

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

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

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

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

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

3. Embrace the noise, messy is more

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

4. Pair your procrastinations

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

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

5. Know when to stop trying

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

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

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

Make the time for yourself and unlock your ‘FLOW’

Jake

The Transformation Paradox

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

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

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

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

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

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

train a bodypart or  an exercise you enjoy?

or do hours of cardio?

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

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

Back yourself.

everything you’ve got, or not at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet them half way.

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

Jake

Resolutions

Lifestyle, Mindset

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

‘At least the intention was there’

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

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

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

eat healthier,

exercise,

cut down on smoking,

get on my feet more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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 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 💪

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

What is Your Downfall?

Fitness, Lifestyle, Special

So overthinking is possibly my downfall, in that most things tend to be black and white and not a trick question or conspiracy awaiting to surface. It’s great to question things, and so you should, but when previous intrigue is to be followed by doubt or cynicism, it can be tricky.

So what is your downfall?

Does merely acknowledging your bad traits overcome them? When we act irrationally or say things we do not mean can we use anger to justify what we say or is the anger merely a bi-product of the truth? Not thinking versus thinking of every little thing we are not supposed to after a day of preoccupied avoidance? Is the physical act of tossing and turning a conflict of these ideals, whereby sleep is only a temporary resolution, what you wish to say or do, and what you will?

procrastination? irritability? stress?

I wouldn’t consider myself a major procrastinator, though I do often find better things to do, simply, if I would absolutely rather not do the task at hand, it’s all about choice. For me this was once cardio, in that I’d always rather choose weight training over cardio, only to find that they now have equal bearing on the bigger picture of my goal. How did this switch take place? For me if you equally dread something and love the other, there’s always something you’d rather be doing than the things you NEED to do. The grass is definitely not greener, everything has a place and function.

As someone and like many others that study subjects which require 100% attention and more importantly retention of the information to which they ingest, I would say an easy test for this would be see how long you can read a book for which you don’t find interesting in the slightest. This does not mean you should always persevere through a boring read, but rather ascertain what you are wishing to find or learn. Are we inclined to watch comedy when we are sad, or heartbreak when we are in love, entertainment is equally as cathartic as it is merely that, entertaining time. How many books have you ever picked up and not finished, or depend on other people’s motivations to get to the last line rather than mustering your own. Are we so idle in the familiarity and convenience of blurbs, reviews, and recommendations that we are divulging our tastes and merely eating the ingredients from a recipe rather than cooking up a meal.

Procrastinating, every other thought or idea than the one you need, the only one you know to be true. A hundred IF’s and a thousand NO’s. Back to the drawing board or somewhere familiar. Familiarity and the known as opposed to unknown are that of which I mentioned in Comfort and Discomfort, a beseeching reassurance of the familiar that licks our wounds and steers us away from failing again.

Alike my previous posts these themes are centred around basic human traits and not personal attributes that confine us to them. We are products of our environment, by with every means to progress, regress, follow, unfollow, love, hate, do we steer in the direction of other peoples decisions and judgements. Our cup, half full with our own problems, clinks the glasses either side, one of hope, another sorrow, spilling over the sides and diluting the other. If you need less stress and irritability in your life, don’t clink the glasses of those stressed and irritable, and if you do, at least seek to empty your own cup before pouring in everyone else’s.

Our downfalls and malapropos are so deeply weaved into our habits of life that it is difficult to see them for what they are, things to be acted upon or not, a leap of faith or static solitude. The influences and failure’s of many great life successors will all be different, but all will share that fact, that they have been influenced and equally failed at some point or another. Are you to be someone that influences other people by succeeding or learning from your failures? The latter being the point to which failing is only the beginning of influence. If we were to succeed in everything that we set out to achieve, our confidence would only be around for as long as the winning streak.

Finally, I’ve often been asking myself what is MOTIVATION? How do I motivate people to exercise, to do things because they are hard, to end what would seem like a losing streak? the answer is nothing. I can do nothing but observe the reasons for why things things can be difficult, are difficult or made more so, successfully or otherwise. As personal trainers, friends, colleagues and family, we observe, collect and give our best advice to those that may or may not need it, but if there’s always something better to do or worse to think about the grass will always be greener, or ironically, not.

 

Comfort in Discomfort

Special

‘Do people who run marathons know they don’t have to?’ This was the first thing I seen today on Facebook. I’m no marathon runner, nor do I have any incline to do so, so what are people’s drives to that which brings great discomfort?

I watched ‘Free Solo’ and ‘The Dawn Wall’ recently, a feat of which seems to bear an even larger question than the scale of the mountain, WHY? The two climbers shared a similar mindset which spanned over a decade of climbing the same wall (El Capitan, Yosemite) the premise being mastering every small detail of the climb, or DIE. How close do we need to be to death or at least the thought of it, to propel us further away from it? Do we tightly embrace the heat and warmth of security knowing that each day could be our last or a revelling assurance at what we have that others do not. How relentless do we have to be to secure that which we deem most dear? Feats and fortune, family and friends, a conflict of the comforts of consolation when we fail aside the discomfort of failure itself. Is it merely a  hunger of endorphins that add motives to pursuits far removed from the frivolity of life, or is adrenaline a drug just packaged differently, without any stigma or judgement attached. In this extreme, failure equals death, but in every other sense, the premise of failure should be acknowledged by a single stop as opposed to a destination.

We no longer live in Medieval times where building a moat around your estate sufficed against the covetous eyes of jealousy, though the security of our digital fortunes may dictate our fate. Now, in a digital age, one bad review or comment from the competition of opportunists can dictate our success or failure, making every decision one which has some level of fear attached to it, adrenaline. So am I saying that we get secretly get a kick out of being judged? Think a reserved shyness awaiting acknowledgement to the boisterous arrogance of acceptance, who benefits more from this inception of social identity?

But this is the risk that distinguishes those that laugh in the face of adversity and judgement, whether it defies your moral code or not, having your insecurities put under the microscope for all to see is not something we are prepared for. While I get that such a saturated market of girls, and guys, flexing their way to the ever fluctuating trends of the fitness industry will bring plenty of ‘fake it till you make it’s’ I massively respect anyone that puts themselves and their bodies on the line for people to judge, ‘this is me, take it or leave it’ flirting with the thought of falling to their death at one mis-step. All too often do we see the fact that people can dress themselves up with all the ingredients to fast-track their identity to acceptance, but if your dish has all the same ingredients as someone else’s, is it really your recipe?

So what can we learn from thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies that flirt with death as we spectate and wonder HOW? As Ant Middleton says, “fear is just excitement” Where does this leave everything else which is uncomfortable, who and what is to greeted as a friend, or a comforting foe that secretly enjoys your discomfort? Get comfortable being uncomfortable, acknowledge the position that you find yourself in regardless of being at the top or the bottom. Don’t go on the defensive and wait for the cunning of hungrier bellies to steal from your plate, finish everything you start and leave no scraps to feed other people’s ego’s. Embrace the thrill of the unknown rather than knowing exactly what you’re getting and no further. Being the smartest, strongest or most wealthy person in the room isn’t always a good thing. Don’t be weak, but don’t hesitate to be the weakest in a room full of stronger characters, a student, an apprentice, on areas to which are uncomfortable rather than just fashioning knowledge without conviction.

Make the steps firstly with your hands and feet, knowing that they are connected and not just autonomously leading you to your death. Think your way out of problems that arise with your physical body rather than going in ‘head first’ and overthinking every single potential outcome that CAN or COULD. No one got anywhere by having a million and one ideas in their head and no clear direction of what actually bears a solid purpose. That’s why procrastination is equally as useful in the creative process as the end goal, seeing and acknowledging the useful from the useless. Upon facing a deadline or solution to a problem we see every other alternative, not because we don’t know the right thing to do, but we undoubtedly know the worst thing to do, nothing. I COULD work but i’d rather not, we see the possibilities rather than the simplicity of the answer as if it were too clear cut to be true, ‘The Elixir of Life’ Is it A. Exercise everyday B. Smoke everyday C. Take Regular holidays D. Have a perfect diet. Well it can’t be D because there’s no such thing, i’ll take whichever pick out of A,B, or C that suits me. We talk ourselves out of discomfort and into comfort at every opportunity, how would our decisions fare without this lackadaisical charge which only confines us to our previous choices.

Jake.