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

 

Crocodiles of Belize

Travel

Although there are freshwater species of Crocodile residing in Belize, The American or Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the most common species of Crocodile that can be found in its surrounding Cayes and Mangrove communities. They hide in the shallow waters of once undisturbed islands edging their way to the mainland, though they have been known to cross neighbouring waters of their Australian cousins in search for food. Crocodiles are highly territorial, making their proximity with humans one that could be both a threat to their sustenance and an asset. They have been known to travel as far as one hundred and fifty metres to each territory when their own becomes threatened or scarcely populated, making their nomadic habits unpredictable to track.

While there have been few documented cases of Crocodile attacks on this side of Central America, with both the planned expansion of property and an insouciant attitude with feeding, one could expect this to change. Tour guides and local fishermen often approach the matter of Crocodiles with an attitude lending well into their own interests than that of the consequences, one to cultivate a potentially volatile outcome. On the flip side there have been cases of larger adults visit neighbouring docks of Caye Caulker without succumbing to their meat-eating disposition, though their new intrigue should not always be labelled nonchalantly.

Due to over-exploited populations of the Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in the earlier 20th Century, Crocodile densities in the Northern river systems of Belize came to a prompt decline, urging the reintroduction of juvenile species to areas most affected. The Saltwater Crocodiles may not share the same concern as the once listed endangered species of mainland Belize, but their tendency to settle in alluvial waters could make future weather extremes problematic. Most of the crocs sighted during a survey conducted by Placencia based NGO CRC (Crocodile Research Coalition) were juveniles, whether this could reflect a rigorous pursuit of larger adults or their ability to remain undetected is hard to say.

I spoke briefly to the co-ordinator, Miriam, who kindly invited me onto the night survey alongside local school students, in which she faiths the success of Crocodile conservation firmly on education. It was clear to see that there was plenty of retained knowledge amongst a staggered age range of students, a knowledge to which expanded my own awareness of these prehistorical beasts. One detail that did spark further interest with further wellbeing of these animals is their enriched resonance with Mayan culture and their symbolism with the expansion of consciousness.

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

👊

Sacrifice, Structure & Setting up for Success in 2017

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

January is always a perfect time to consider change. Now –clean slate in hand– finding ourselves much more open-minded to the passing opportunity of general self-improvement, we can once again acknowledge both just how quickly a year can pass and how little we have to show for choices productive or otherwise in retrospect. It’s not until we are faced by a tangible indication; +10 lbs on the scale; -£10 on a bank statement, do we then wonder where things went downhill and reassess the collective contribution to such a point in time rather than just one big lapse of judgement. The first ‘S’ in setting up for success would be the realisation of what aspects of your ‘downtime’ can be considered absolutely necessary in order to plough through monotony. The potential ‘Sacrifice’ should concern that which may be reassessed as excessive, weighing no positive bearing on your quality of life and quite possibly making it unnecessarily problematic. While this may sound like a contradiction in the sense of suggesting a lifestyle change, whereby an entity offering enjoyment is potentially reduced or replaced, the key lies within volume, moderation and managing future dependancy. Volume in that a particular planned amount of X or Y is adhered to more rigorously, whilst being able to justify said amounts across a specified time frame i.e hourly alcohol consumption, daily caloric goal or total weekly amount spent gambling. Moderation in that a week of excess should be followed by at least two weeks of rest –and digest– reiterating the value of enjoyment without a habitual downward spiral to ill-health. Finally, managing future dependancy; being aware of that which is conducive to become habitual, watching the football at home every other week to cut out a day of drinking, eating a piece of fruit instead of drinking a coffee, avoiding certain places or groups of people likely to corrupt your good intentions –yeah thats a hard one–<<

These cover an array of potentially addictive aspects of ones particular lifestyle; from a single habit considered immediately harmful; smoking, to that which can arguably bring both happiness and malcontent in excess, chocolate. So lets take an average day of both working and sleeping for 8 hours, the remaining 8 being the void between work and pleasure; what makes the previous and following day bearable? Is said downtime condensed into the 48 hours of the weekend? Does a 2 day binge come with the cost of another two days? Ultimately, we are told that everything is potentially harmful in some way shape or form; pollutants in the air, chemicals in our water and now light of unsavoury hormones in the milk that we pour on our Corn Flakes. One may drink whisky, eat red meat and live till the next century whilst another may exercise everyday, avoid gluten, not see their 40’s and vice versa. So where does this leave us in retrospect? Cut out the things we enjoy just to warrant a comfy bed and 4 walls of a retirement home or excessively indulge on the things we would take for granted in years to come just to say that we had ‘lived’?

SACRIFICE- to give up (something valued) for the sake of other considerations.

As we find ourselves in the middle of ‘Dry Jan’ –using alcohol as an example– one may attribute abstinence positively –money saved, energy and health replenished– or negatively –overwhelming boredom and the chronic ‘fear of staying in’– presenting us all with our own realisation of either an urge or now dissonance to our potential vices, one which has taken the turn of a New Year to illuminate. As we have previously mentioned the collective contribution of choices as opposed to a single lapse of judgement, it can be said that both structure and habit are genetically linked in their nature to either assist or pollute our routine. That being said, would it be better then to systematically structure inevitable vices and habits into our routine if they cannot be completely removed initially? Focusing solely on the point to which downtime becomes excessive and ‘benefit’ becomes hindrance. I myself have came to realise that as long as you can make a sufficient contribution to change and self-improvement overall, a systematic application of that which may not be considered constructive, on the odd day, wont be enough to hinder your new positive direction. An example of this could be an attempt to exercise in advance to an inevitable session, planning to be active and outdoors on a hungover day, rather than channelling the sloth.

Being aware of justifying aforementioned choices, making conscious decisions to reduce or remove excessive vices and habits completely, is something that does take time. If we look back 12 months are we sitting in the same position, with the same goals and same barriers distorting our view? In another year could we be potentially closer? Highlighting the problem and making those sacrifices which may not provide us with a somewhat immediate alleviator of stress or a proponent of enjoyment, but may collectively contribute to a better quality of life beyond situational and temporary satisfaction.

JAKEDARCYFITNESS 👊

 

Bingeing, Sugar Intake and Improving Insulin Sensitivity

Lifestyle

If you ask the majority of people what would be the one thing that they are habitually disposed to and/or often succumb to in excessive amounts, it’s always going to be sugar. Going back to the input/output notion of previous posts concerning fat-loss and weight-gain, overconsumption of sugar even alongside what one may arguably consider ‘regular exercise’ could still disrupt the typical routes to which glucose can be sufficiently absorbed and regulated by the body. These routes being either to the liver or a physically stimulated process which replenishes depleted energy stores in the muscle following sufficient exercise, the stored form of glucose being glycogen. Whether you seem to be blessed with a genetic exemption to snacking on mostly quick energy-releasing sugars as opposed to slow release complex carbohydrates without storing the excess, be aware of how such rationale to certain food choices may often instil an array of problems both short and long term, complimentary to the looming dissonance between energy levels and overall mood. 

For someone that either skips breakfast or has a big hit of sugar early on in the day, such a habit may potentially yield further appetite for the typically ‘bad’ calories, thus cultivating both an irregularity of sound and sustainable energy along with an ever looming malcontent. In terms of justifying said calories following a period of starvation, consider how blood sugar takes a similar route as gravity, in that prolonging a gradual ‘ascension’ phase will only make the latter direction much more of a dive than a gradual decline. If we look at a potential negative of the ‘Juicing Craze’ regardless of whether a smoothie is made up predominantly of nutritionally sound vegetables and greens, most that would happen to incorporate the obvious ‘nicer’ fruits regularly into the equation are oblivious to the averse effect high blood sugar may have on Insulin. Insulin –the hormone secreted by the pancreas–  will attempt to stabilize an excess of glucose in the blood, but alike the receptors which regulate the amount of serotonin in the brain, said pathways become overworked, making their once resounding efficacy redundant over time. Insulin resistance, commonplace for someone diagnosed with medical type I Diabetes, may potentially be a likely prospect for an individual inducing similar symptoms through poor diet and lifestyle, the main precursor to often non-hereditary type II.

‘OK I delve a bit too much on the sugar front now and again but I wouldn’t say its as bad as that!’ Well the amount consumed may not be in the range of pre-diabetes and aforementioned medical illnesses anytime soon, but a slow destructive sequence starting with overconsumption and continuing on to an ultimate guilt fuelled binge is equally important to both identify and thus prevent. In a 24 hour period our moods and energy levels fluctuate in respect of the nature of our environment, they determine the important parameters to which we may work or engage in physical activity, eat and sleep. It is these factors which determine Homeostasis, a physiological equilibrium which can be crucial in stipulating the terms of our body’s susceptibility to lose or conversely gain weight. So apart from the obvious solution of eating less sugar even less frequently throughout the day and considering longer-lasting energy sources, what can be implemented to prevent energy crashes and guilt-fuelled sugar binges?

1. More healthy fats – These will delay a sudden rise in blood glucose when combined with certain carbohydrates. We hear of them all the time; nuts, avocado and Extra Virgin Olive Oil being the staple components of the low carb holy trinity if you like, but there are plenty more that are going to ensure a substantial energy reserve for when fuel/food may be scarce at certain points throughout the day. –going overboard and increasing the number of triglycerides in the bloodstream excessively would make the liver resistant to insulin just like sugar– bringing us on the golden ‘M’ of a healthy and sustainable diet.

2. Less restriction, moderation– Unless a caloric deficit or restriction is necessary to your weight loss program or if sticking to certain foods is the only way to stay on track, don’t stress about the odd lapse of judgement unless you know that it would have a detrimental impact on your progress in toto. Factor in foods that you enjoy when applicable, if you take a mile from the initial inch it may set you back a mile.

3. Less caffeine more water– This is definitely one with great relevance to my typical day. Excessive energy drinks both peaking energy and sapping it completely, increasing the likelihood of headaches and possibly dehydration. Along with suppressing natural appetite to a degree, making a meal or eating window less attractive thus decreasing overall satiety.

4. Eating around and for physical activity– Plan out what parts of the day are going to need more energy and effort than others, whether its an exerting gym session or long shift at work, better caloric distribution will optimise both the energy system and overall mood, making you less temperamental and more productive.

5. Satiety not starvation– As we’ve mentioned those who often justify certain bad food choices with earlier skipping of meals, unsubstantial displacement of calories will only prolong further cravings that end in a food coma or in the fridge at 2am. On the flip side, starvation will only make physical exertion more difficult, increase stress and potentially lower your immune system, so choose your eating habits wisely.

Please follow JAKEDARCYFITNESS if you haven’t already,

I will also be taking on new clients in December for online nutritional coaching and personal training so feel free to contact me at @jakedarcy098@hotmail.co.uk or by direct message. 👊

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

While there are a number of benefits and drawbacks of intermittent fasting, one may consider it a somewhat extreme approach. Due to the duration of a typical ‘fasted’ period, a lot of people may implement I.F into their daily routine without realising, yet it is a term which some namedrop as a means of asserting their knowledge and overwhelming those as though it has been the best kept secret of the last few decades. Ultimately, fasting diets aren’t new to the fitness community, nor should they be packaged and sold to an unsuspecting ‘client’, amongst every other fad and scam, they are just another option for weight loss. For Muslims during this month of Ramadan, fasting will commence at dawn until sunset, making the time in-between a critical period of replenishing the first days energy stores whilst substantially covering the second. The more generic application of intermittent fasting which many athletes and the like endorse with the goal of ‘fasting to utilise fat as energy’ has certainly awarded I.F both intrigue and scrutiny even more so.

The fasted period requires the individual to refrain from consuming anything containing calories. For muslims, water and even chewing-gum must not be touched during said time, yet it is common for the majority of the non-religious to drink water, with an exception of zero calorie drinks –likely containing caffeine– to surpass the initial hunger upon waking or further cravings post-workout. Ultimately, the total calories consumed during the ‘eating’ period total a day like any other, which is often the scepticism of intermittent fasting in toto. Yes, only so much of the nutrients consumed during such a period may be sufficiently absorbed and utilised at once, yet it is often the restriction of intermittent fasting which makes it a valuable tool against the downfall of us all, snacking.

For people that may fast for around nineteen hours and eat for five, the aforementioned restriction will almost certainly delight a smart eater to choose the next foods wisely, one with energy and performance at the mercy of one unfulfilling snack. Consuming foods that are calorically dense will ensure a consistency of energy, as opposed to an incidence of irregular peaks and troughs –see Summer Blues & The ‘Juicing’ Craze— a spike in blood sugar, a crumble to cravings. So what can you expect from a typical day of intermittent fasting? Well it can be said that a lot of people struggle to eat first thing in a morning. Whether this is due to the fact that they can’t stomach food so soon upon waking or preparing breakfast gives them even less time in bed, there must be some relief to missing the ‘most important meal of the day’?

The problem lies with the fact that missing breakfast makes the rest of the day a mere game of catch up. One that may not go down so well for someone that only gets an hour lunch –or even less– whether it’s all day at a desk or one of ‘hard graft’ Blood sugar and cravings aside, the short term reward aspect of food either during a break or at the end of such a day would entice anyone without an ever-looming date requiring them to look their ‘best’ So how could Intermittent fasting solve this problem? Well I myself am not one to eat pre-cooked meals out of tupperware at various inconvenient points in the day, despite the incline to others. I don’t believe this is necessary to satisfy the more generic goal of overall health and weight loss, but alike I.F, it is a systematic approach which reiterates the importance of food choices. The freedom of choice is a concept that most people looking into the lifestyles of those eating to fuel rather than enjoy, burden themselves into the abyss of snack-filled binges. Although it is these times in which we can reassess the value of foods, now that only the initial enjoyment has any bearing, to a diminishing course of habit.

Fasting reinforces the value of foods that may not be deemed necessity, and highlights the inconvenience of foods containing redundant or ‘sabotaging’ macros, yielding only a short term relief in a 24 hour period. Said macros may total one’s overall caloric intake, yet may still be a fraction of the nutrients required to support a demanding workout routine or busy lifestyle in general. All in all, intermittent fasting is a useful tool for those who tend to eat later on in the day, and can appreciate the fact that snacking as opposed to consuming substantial meals is often a familiar occurrence.

For anyone that’s interest here’s an illustration of the typical fast/feed splits of Intermittent fasting, use at your pleasure or at your peril.

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JAKEDARCYFITNESS

Should I start ‘Cutting’?

Lifestyle

So like my last post concerning ‘The Lean Bulk Myth’, it is worth noting a few common misconceptions surrounding ‘cutting’ and the further implications improper practise of such a process can have on the body. While ‘bulking’ and ‘cutting’ are terms that are commonplace within the fitness community, a wider application of these norms on behalf of the everyday person has meant that the true function of each ‘extreme’ has now became somewhat misconstrued. Now I can respect the fact that there are plenty of guys and girls out there whose interests aren’t centred around fitness or competitive sports, but quite frankly, it is the malpractice on behalf of these types of people that is the source of the problem.

First of all you can’t just go and ‘cut’ carbs. Carbs are a fundamental component of any diet, the main source of fuel in fact, and like insisting on driving your car when the petrol light comes on, it’s risky business. Both misconceptions come from the literal ambiguity of ‘cut’ in context; this can either suppose a substantial reduction of carbs or even a complete removal of them from one’s diet entirely. If you’ve ever had personal training or any assistance concerning a particular diet, you’ll know that your trainer/dietician will more than likely incorporate gradual as opposed to abrupt alterations. In this respect, and here we’re focusing on carbs as opposed to overall calories, failing to be aware of the timing of such a reduction is the first mistake. Whether it’s a looming date for a holiday or one particular event where the clothes you’re planning to wear are a fair few inches too small, you want to avoid ‘peaking’ too early.

Now I can accept that everyone is at different levels in this regard, nevertheless, the first few lbs are always the easiest to lose, regardless of whether your approach is somewhat systematic or a straight up panic. People go on last minute holidays, may not have to time to exercise regularly or simply have not been informed on the correct ways to diet, but there’s a fine line between ‘cutting’ and straight up starving. What many won’t be aware of, and something that I have previously failed to apply to a reduction of carbs was the requirement of replacing them with healthy fats; olive oil, avocado, nuts etc. If anything is removed or reduced from your diet, most of the time, a levelling alternative is required. This does not condone spooning out a full jar of peanut butter by any means, but forms a somewhat caloric safety net at the base of summit you just jumped off by suddenly cutting carbs. If such a substantial reduction is absolutely necessary, attempt to work comfortably between the point of being full from clean sources and being able to function on less.

In addition, –and this tends to apply to girls more so than lads– while cutting carbs may seem like an opportunity that provides a somewhat immediate improvement, it only prolongs their effect and ultimate sensitivity, thus making bloating much more likely. Think about how the effects of alcohol are tenfold when you’ve had a significant break from drinking and how only a few may suffice an entire night. The body’s reaction to anything becomes much more averse in absence, and it’s the same with food. Not to mention a complete removal of something you clearly can’t live without isn’t exactly logical, alienating the restrictive nature of dieting by its connotations, the thing that prevented you from eating ‘X’ or ‘Y’. If ‘X’ or ‘Y’ for you was in fact ‘P’ for pizza, realistically there has to be some sacrifice somewhere, unfortunately.

So where does this leave us? Well regardless of whether you count macros, follow a rigorous diet, aim to gradually reduce carbohydrates or simply want to put an end to bad habits, energy is key. For a healthy guy that wants to gradually cut away at the subcutaneous fat covering a solid build of muscle, there may be a very fine line between burning fat or the hard work of winter. This makes a sudden reduction of carbs not only problematic in the preservation of muscular tissue but in the sacrifice of energy levels even more so. What I would suggest, and coming from someone eight months into a ‘bulk’ despite plans to go on holiday in June, don’t necessarily eat less, just do even more. Unless you’re competing for a show and being as lean as possible is a fundamental requirement, a week of looking half decent is definitely not worth the burden of having no energy for six, twelve or eighteen, believe me.

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