(C)lean Bulking

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mindset

If you already seem to struggle to put weight on, it’s clear that both your metabolism and expenditure favour the same outcome. Being leaner than most people and having the capacity to lose weight quickly is both a blessing and a burden for those with weight gain in mind, granted what we know about consuming too many bad calories or ‘dirty bulking’

This is one ‘method’, great in the sense of committing to significant weight gain, as this is often the factor which puts most people off, however, attempts to gain real weight is no real excuse to simply get fatter.

It was nice to learn the hard way I suppose.

So fat gain. It’s a necessary precursor to muscle gain considering that you’re eating more than you burn, but not just an excuse to eat whatever for the sake of getting stronger. Strength gain and progressive overload is essential, but matters which still don’t warrant this need to over-consume. It’s very easy for this to happen when performance is spot on, and weights seem to be flying up alongside strength increases, it’s still being able to retain all of this when you can’t get the food in.

If you can put your weight on the scale aside from the numbers in the gym and be mindful of the extra weight you’ll have to work back off at some point or another, it’s pretty straight forward in theory. It just depends how much weight you want to accumulate, in what time frame, and for what reason. I chased down 17 stone by whatever means possible, in retrospect if I could have sat comfortably at even a stone less, I would’ve had more time to get lean. Could have probably retained more muscle and reserved the need to implement drastic measures for fat loss later down the line to a  greater effect.

The same goes for dieting, you can’t just decide one day you’re on plan and the next be an exemption, this way you’ll never truly know the extent of your best effort, only your breaking point. It’s an irony which praises the capacity of doing what most people aren’t prepared to, which makes it ok when you fail. We are all too quick to celebrate endeavours concerning our bodies, because it divulges the connection between the gripes of our younger selves ‘I want this’, ‘I want that’ and the adult which says ‘no you’ve had enough already’

Weight gain is an equally precarious matter to those celebrating a lighter weigh in or successful transformation, as an over-celebration to weight increases only result in getting fat too quickly. When I see that someone is doing a ‘minicut’ this can either be adherence to a base recovery diet off the back of over-indulgence or simply an attempt to regain body composition.

Clean bulking is much more effective when body composition is improved, in that anyone can load creatine, carb cycle big meals and look as though they’ve gained lbs of pure muscle, it’s usually not the case. Find a target weight or aim for regaining a body composition that doesn’t just look good first thing in a morning with no food or water. Everyone can say they look lean or their best at this point but it isn’t a true reflection of your physique. The aim is to allow the body to assimilate nutrients from regular meals throughout the course of the day without bloating, affecting performance or having a reverse effect on appetite.

This is bound to happen if you’re just piling in healthy food and expecting to add muscle whilst staying lean, especially meals which taste much nicer when you’re dieting and actually hungry as opposed to eating whilst still relatively full most of the time.

Between water, fat, and everything else in between, it’s not so hard to regain a decent enough physique following a few weeks of overconsumption, but months at a time do no one any favours. To laugh in the face of seemingly minute increase in calories may be reckless if you already have a decent appetite, but bumping up calories too soon only increases the risk of spilling over and interrupting gradual progression. This would only be necessary for the hardgainer who cannot consistently eat enough calories to gain weight everyday and has to compensate for their expenditure, even so, there’s only so much you can consume at once.

If you wish to start your own gaining phase, work out your own TDEE aside what you currently eat and go from there.

Look out for my next blog,

Jake

Workout Your Own Mind

Lifestyle, Mindset

You can drag a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Has anyone ever thought maybe it could be the water?

We are creatures of habit, depending upon what environment we develop either a firm understanding or naïveté, the basis of reinforcing our own truth or becoming lies in what we have been exposed to or protected from.

The same goes for the horse, who drinks from the nearest pool and only knows such as life. What endeavours and aspirations do we suppress in spite of our natural ability or initial interest? Is it doubt or ignorance to our own transcendence that determines the limits that confined those before us to those before them? In doing so, defying our true nature to progress absolutely.

It’s down to a deep-routed fiber, inherent ability and not just a participation of norms which transpire through the purpose of popularly and recognition, but progression which sets out to surpass previous attempts. The same can be said for genetics.

Some people pride themselves on being lazy, they wear their traits like a sash of honour rather than a burden to their own potential and find solace in excusing action rather than taking it.

The same goes for inheriting one good and one bad trait from each of our parents. If one sits at home most of the day and the other trains as a triathlete, does a better lesson come from seeing one achieving and being recognised more than the other or simply acknowledging what NOT to do.

After all we usually have the choice of two means for purpose, based on the traits and habits of our parents and those before, whether they were any good at it or not will often either save you a lot of time or demand it all.

Have you found what you’re good at yet? Are you good at anything? It’s not in the fine details or the skillset, this can be learned later, it’s in the colours that you use, the tones in which you create the mood and the background which gives context to your OWN purpose. If you were to paint numerous canvases using the same colour palate, it’s only going to go so many ways, whether you experiment with different means of expression, lead erratic strokes of frustration into the foreground or ruin them all completely, in this instance they bear the sole purpose of being a draft.

Maybe next time I’ll use different colours, a different brush, maybe you don’t want to use a canvas. We’re not all born to be successful painters, and yet we are promptly expected to master the art of our own fate. How much of our skill set and knowledge has a default setting, one shared with our classmates, similar age and ethnicity. Amidst all the numerical data and graded outcomes of either success or failure it seems only our character remains completely unique to us, leading or distracting. Ability is learned, but without listening to the voice inside your own head, it’s requires ability in itself to make room for both; what you want to know and what you’re told you need.

Workout your own Mind.

I don’t know how much scientific credibility this has on our memory but if our brain deliberately forgets information serving us no purpose beyond remembering, don’t feel so bad for forgetting.

When have you had to use Pythagoras Theorem in your current working role? The same goes for retaining pointless information, somehow, somewhere in our minds we acknowledge that there is still some use out of knowing, seeing, hearing, reading, rather than merely being told to listen.

Only you decide what or why something is useful.

Research your own experience

Absorb what is useful

Reject what is useless

Add what is specifically your own.

These are some of the generic values endorsed by Bruce Lee, but for how simple they appear to be in theory, it’s this inherent attention to judgement and finding independence which is particularly poignant in finding purpose, better yet, success.

Forget anything in your life which seems all too readily prescribed. Reject what you know is useless after proving it to be so. What habits and rituals promote your best headspace and capacity for creativity.  By creativity I’m not referring to that which makes us great painters, writers and such. It’s the ability to regularly workout your own mind and create the best environment for your passions and ideas to thrive. Write the best lines and link the best scenes of your own narrative, edit the things that don’t fit the bill that you envision and filter out the  negative energy which plagues your momentum of growth.

If you’re still working it out, granted your glass is half full or half empty, it’s likely that you have options rather than attempts, skills to perfect and tools to sharpen. A position all to easy to forget to appreciate. Don’t fret over a missing puzzle piece, especially not one that helps complete somebody else’s game before your own.

Follow my journey on Instagram,

Jake 💪

All (f)or Nothing

Lifestyle, Special

Most of our decisions take shape on the basis of extremes. Yes. No. All. Nothing. Either we want it all, or essentially not at all. Between the two bears the potential for losing out or seeming to acquire ALL for nothing, DEPENDING ON YOUR OUTLOOK. The first demanding little to no effort or sacrifice, meaning that although you failed to gain anything you can safely breakeven. The opposing side of NOTHING, All, conjuring up every ounce of effort DESPITE THE RISK of seeing nothing in return, so was it all for NOTHING? This is enough to discourage most, encourage some and pose to define a small few. The difference between TRYING and not at all is bound ultimately, by a justifying cost with benefit. This isn’t to say merely trying is enough, but it’s definitely an improvement.

TRYING isn’t filling your fridge and cupboards with foods you know you’re going to eat and just delaying time before the inevitable. Or packing your running clothes for work with the INTENTION to run, and inevitably doing more running away from the prospect. We are pretty predictable beings at best, if we see a better option than the one to hand, it won’t take much persuasion to bolt in the other direction. If you’re someone that is predictable, acknowledge the inevitability of your typical route in real time, get ahead of yourself in the queue and make for some better alternatives than those besides bottomless snacking.

Night time hunger following a substantial meal at tea time means you’ve either under-ate at some point or another that day, over-ate sugar or have overly-anticipated the eating ‘freedom’ you didn’t have at work since, no one needs to know what I actually eat. What I mean by this is again, the relationship you have with food. How often do you binge eat? Or go through these periods of starve and gorge? Look back at our eating habits thousands of years ago when we stockpiled and feasted outside of stress, fear, and prospects for Survival. Survival mode isn’t a state of hunger that you want to create when food is in such plentiful supply. Unless you had to chase a wild bore 10 miles through a ravine in order to burn off a box of crunchy nut, stick to a bowl. If serving suggestions appear more comical than informative, weigh it. Kellog’s don’t care how many 30g portions fit your breakfast bowl, they have to state this information regardless. On the flipside, by denying your body of food for a significant time you are starving it of essential nutrients and priming it for things now seen as hard to come by. We can understand how the more you eat something, the more you crave it, so why not make your body actually crave the things it needs?

Depending on your outlook, everything has a benefit. Sugar, caffeine, carbs and other energy sources benefit our system if it means we are operating well, though they often come with a limited time that eventually wears off and then, immediately sought after. Any lesser the immediacy of impending cost or consequence seems to bring only benefits in the forefront, which is why there’ll always be more gastric bands than there are gold medalists and why a lot of people give up once the novelty wears and the compliments stop. We want it all, and the extras. The sides to compliment the burger. Health, but with moderation, acknowledgement for strength and sympathy when we struggle, it sounds just like we want more of EVERYTHING for NOTHING and with no reminded consequence.

Our reluctance to lose or waste time is equally matched by our need to otherwise spend it, better yet when it concerns pleasure of gratification; earning money, spending it. The same goes for reinforcing such a system of something for nothing, there are some things in life you can hustle and acquire by means outside the rulebook, but the same cannot apply to the successful business of our bodies and mindset; Put some good stuff in, get some good stuff out. Invest in things and people that make you feel good, cut your losses with those that don’t. What’s the purpose of your business? To progress? Help others do the same? Ingest ALL of the good stuff and encourage those around you to do the same rather than shove it in their face, if you’re full this way often enough, you leave NOTHING to chance and the inevitability of gorging for the sake of it.

All or Nothing,

An approach that will serve a benefit for some, and setback others, it comes down to specificity. It’s ALL in the VERBS, EATING, WORKING, SLEEPING, DREAMING.

Being in it PROPERLY or NOT AT ALL. So what’s your trigger for such instances?What kind of relationship do you have with life’s pleasures; is it one that puts your state of WANT before the state of NEED, the WANT to feel better or the NEED to feel the BEST you possibly can at the time, aside the weight of consequence  and impending cost? 

Let’s keep this as loosely related to food as possible, despite being the simplest example to use. Picture anything you simply can’t get enough of, either you sought after it or you don’t. Think about the relationship you have with it, does it dictate most of your thoughts in its absence or is it merely a precursor for feeling better and that’s what you crave? 

We know that associations link our thoughts and influence matters from our conscious rationale to our unconscious dreams. If you think about something hard enough, or even better, try thinking about it less, you’ll be inadvertently demanding it from the universe to see more of. It’s the cruel coincidences of reality that truly test your willpower when you need it most. It only takes one time to abstain from temptation to overcome it. Every other instance after breaking a habit becomes the norm. Make your norm pride and fulfilment rather than FULL-FILLING an ever-hungry stomach with guilt.

follow my journey on Instagram

Jake 👊

 

 

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 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 💪