We love food and you should to

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I recently had a client who told me the greatest thing I did for her was tocat food teach her that food was a friend, not an enemy. She had spent her whole life locked in an eternal battle against calories. ‘I cannot eat this’ I should not eat that’, ‘This is bad
for me’ etc. etc. To her food was something she had to limit in order to stay thin, it was never a case of what she consumed, but more so how much. In essence calories played a much more dominant role in her life than actual food quality. This took away from her enjoyment of food and even worse enveloped her in guilt whenever she did ‘lose a battle with a brownie’.

Life should not be this way, nor does eating healthy have to be. Food and the process of cooking and eating should be enjoyed.

As the old adage goes ‘We are what we eat’ and the nutrients contained within what we eat have specific roles to play in our body. Whether that be building, assisting or facilitating, our body will gather what we consume and stick it with the jobs it was meant for. A really dumbed down example is protein builds, fat communicates and carbohydrates energise whilst vitamins and minerals work with these to ensure the jobs are done efficiently (in reality the science is way more complex and complicated but this will work for the sake of understanding). As we can see, there are many jobs and many workers for the roles and common sense would suggest that a diet void of any of the major nutrients will create an imbalance within our body, hence the danger of restrictive dieting (zero carb, low fat etc.)

The roles micro and macro nutrients play in our body is dictated by the jobs we supply them. We must create a demand, usually in the form of acute stress i.e. exercise that requires the body to utilise fuel, breakdown and rebuild. Without this stress/ demand, the food we consume will have fewer roles to play in the body and will therefore not be utilised or used and will likely be placed in storage and then we put on some extra timber.

A job or role for nutrients does not have to be high end performance. Day to day living requires billions of chemical reactions that keep us alive and thriving, and it is not just oxygen that fuels this process but the chemicals contained within the food that we eat. Therefore, the state of our well-being and how efficiently our body operates on a day to day basis will be determined by what fuel we supply. You cannot piss in the gas tank of a Ferrari and expect to hit full speed. Our bodies or beautiful machines that require the right fuel to work so provide it or don’t act surprised when you feel tired, sluggish and generally like crap.

So the take home message here is for you to consume foods rich in nutrients, move more so these nutrients have roles and jobs and do not just take up space and learn to love the food around you.

EAT WELL – MOVE OFTEN – BE HAPPY

 

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Why Eating Clean and Being lean does not have to be Painful

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5 Tips For Being Healthier, Happier and Leaner.

Most people are under the impression that to be lean and healthy one must slave away for hours in the gym, monotonously count calories and engage in restrictive diets whilst remaining in a constant state of unhappiness and stress. I admire the willingness to change, but dismiss the logic of this approach.

I can happily say I have never done any of these things and remain in pretty decent shape, health and happiness.

getting lean can be fun (2)

Health gains do not have to be as Unpleasant as a Janurary dip in the ocean

With the bombardment of Hard Ass quotes courtesy of Facebook and Instagram posts professing the need for ‘pain to gain’ it’s no wonder some feel like their potential to be healthy is way out of their reach and the prospect seems daunting, scary and downright unpleasant.

I feel unless you have extreme goals, i.e. performance related goals or bodybuilding, those quotes about ‘Gains Brah’ pretty much don’t apply to you, by all means enjoy them, but take them with a pinch of salt.

Living a healthier lifestyle can in fact be very simple, enjoyable (and even easy once you set the foundations) and certainly within the capacity of the vast majority of people. Despite ‘Always being this way’ or ‘Unable to shake of the love handles’ there are simple steps you can take that will lead you to facilitating your potential. Here are my top five tips for becoming healthier without the need to destroy yourself.

  1. Eat clean. The simplest way of explaining this is in the words of Dan John ‘Don’t eat like a child’. If cereal, soda and microwave meals form the basis of your diet then that’s hardly eating like a grown up. Ensure you have protein and vegetables in every meal and keep carbohydrate consumption relatively low whilst sticking to non-refined complex carbs. A good way to think of clean food is any food that has taken no more than 3 steps from its source to your dinner plate.
  2. Get those ZZZ’s. 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder with the vast majority of the population not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This lack of shut eye is linked to a number of diseases including but not limited to obesity. With our circadian rhythm playing a key role in our health it is vital that we prioritise sleep.  Turn of all electrics at least an hour before bed and establish a routine that prepares the body for shutdown and recovery.
  3. Exercise yes, but Workout Sensibly. Workouts do not need to be ass kicking, sweat dripping balls to the wall battles. There just needs to be an adequate stress appropriate for your training level. There is no miracle workout and the majority of workouts out there despite variety will generally create a positive response if done correctly. A workout as simple as body weight push ups, squats, lunges and planks can be a sufficient way of getting a great work out in very little time. Even a walk outside is great for your health. Just make sure what you do matches your goals and your level and ……
  4. Be patient, be consistent. Do not expect 5,10 or 15 years of being immobile and sedentary to be reversed in six weeks and a six pack to magically appear. This quick fix and drive thru ideology is not only damaging to the health of those engaged but also to the public’s perception of long term sustainable health. Take baby steps, learn to sit, then crawl, then walk then run. It won’t happen overnight, but with consistency and hard work it will certainly happen. Dropping 1% body fat a month may not seem like much, but over 12 months, that 12% can take you from obese to athletic. In addition to this the psychological, physiological and spiritual benefits associated with weight loss are outstanding.
  5. Love yourself, Stay Positive. Be your biggest fan, not your worst enemy. What we tell ourselves has the power to manifest into our reality. ‘I am fat useless and ugly’ is not exactly motivating or inspiring. Be conscious of what you are telling yourself and approach each day with love and positivity and your health and overall life will undoubtedly improve.

I hope you weren’t expecting a magic recipe into how to quick fix your health problems. Despite the ever present viral claims, I have yet to discover one that exists. The 5 steps I have cited are indeed very simple and somewhat open ended but I hope the information is insightful and can help you in some way. If you still feel confused then don’t be afraid to seek out help in order to understand and implement this advice better. I am happy to point you in the right direction or if I can, personally help you with your health goals. In fact I will send you a complimentary 3 week workout along with a goal setting and nutrition plan if you send me a quick email request.

Patrick-jennings1@hotmail.co.uk

 

why big is not beautiful

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“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller.

  • Obesity, self-image, self-esteem and the dangers of perceived perfection and ignorance

*big equates to high body fat percentage. Not referring to any genetic features, only those within our control.

I write this particular article not with disdain for overweight people, synthetically inflated body builders or as a conceded male, but as someone concerned with the growing rate of obesity, the negligence of health and the misrepresented acuity we have with beauty.

The idea that Big is beautiful is problematic as it suggests beauty can be calculated by aesthetic value and size. First and foremost, beauty should not be measured in a singular fashion by our limited visual capacity nor by physical quantity but by our aptitude to do and feel certain things. How much we care, give and love are things that express beauty within us. You could have washboard abs and look like Brad Pitt but still be a bit of an asshole, thus beauty should not be defined by what you look like but by who you are.

Our societal perception of beauty seems to be highly influenced by what we are told to believe is beautiful. With the ugly abundance of celebrity magazines, social media and reality TV there seems to be a mass of mindless imitation with relentless eagerness to be viewed as attractive despite the abandonment of individuality and the shallow return on investment. As the above Helen Keller quote suggests, beauty is more than aesthetics, it delves deeper into what we feel and should bring a certain light into our world.

Our unhealthy obsession with instant gratification and our permeability to shallow yet powerful media influences seem to dictate what we feel we should look like. Due to these fictitious laws and ‘what’s hot what’s not’ type of media exposure there is a host of unhealthy and obsessive behaviours that lead to severe detrimental effects upon our overall well-being, not only for those trying to be but for those who feel isolated because they feel they will never be.

Big is beautiful is a common mantra bigger people occasionally throw around to demonstrate pride in their size. Those who are big can indeed be beautiful people, but being this way also means you are host to high fat mass and these toxic storage units can lead to severe health concerns. However equally as toxic is the concept that we must look a certain way to find self-worth. So where is the balance? We are destined and designed to be individuals, the shape of our skeleton and the actions of our cells are primarily pre-programmed in our genetics to be and act a certain way but this does not mean we are destined to be fat and unhealthy, our health is a choice and product of our individual environment.

Personally I think it’s wrong to tell an overweight teenager struggling with low self-esteem and zero confidence to be proud of their size and that being big is beautiful. Although the intentions may be good, the overall message and actions are bad and consequentially damaging.

What should be asserted is that beauty is not dictated by what others think but by what they do and that their value and self-worth should emanate from within. What should not be ignored is that obesity leads to a host of physiological problems that can cascade over and into our physical appearance, deeply affecting our spiritual and mental well-being. There are correlations between obesity and low self-esteem which can exasperate personal problems and lead to poor nutritional habits like finding false comfort in food, having low self-esteem and feeling isolated. By assuring someone big is beautiful, you may have good intentions but you are nourishing the source of the problem rather than dealing with it. If the foundation of our misery emanates from our weight and appearance, will reassurance that big is beautiful really help? Or is it better to address the source and help eradicate the unhappiness through a positive means.

Without targeting an element of the misery that can be controlled, maybe weight (although this may be a consequence of something deeper, or medicinal), confidence, poor nutritional habits, we will never achieve a solution to the true problems that are causing them to suffer. Yes you can remove the external influences like bullies, and yes you can shower people with compliments and some false assertions but the underlying problem will likely remain. Being overweight can contribute to unhappiness and deteriorating health and people need to know and understand that they truly have the potential and capacity to be healthy and even more importantly they need to know and understand the consequences and cost of sedentary living and poor nutritional habits.

Of course I am not suggesting that all fat people are sick, dying, depressed and spiritually broken compared to a thriving community of lean, healthy people who have no psychological or spiritual concerns. That would be stupid and irrational logic. I know many people who I would describe as beautiful people, but I would not describe them as physically healthy and vice versa.

My message is not that obese people are ugly and skinny is beautiful, nothing could be further from the truth. My message is that obesity is plaguing our society and our solutions seem to be missing the mark. It is not ok to be obese, it is not ok to ignore, neglect and sugar coat the problem with false compliments. It is certainly not ok to pretend that being overweight or obese does not carry serious health concerns that will last throughout your life. It is not ok to assure people big is beautiful and all is fine. That is a lie that could have devastating – effects.

What I am saying and advocating relentlessly is that improvements to your Health leads to improvements with your physical, spiritual and mental well-being getting you to a better place and giving you more capacity to be beautiful people.

What we need to do is destroy our false perceptions of beauty and our band aid application of ‘everything will be ok’ approach and address the problem with empathy and honesty, to empower teens to be responsible for the way they look, to care for their bodies and to invest time in positive ways to counter act the growing weight gains we are seeing within our society.

We are beautiful because of our ability to adapt, to give, to care, and to love. It is your responsibility to take true care of yourselves, to love, learn and appreciate how beautiful you are. There is always help just be brave enough to ask and brave enough to admit you need help and for those who are healthy, be brave enough to offer the help that someone may need but afraid to ask for.

Why athleticism is such an integral part of elite sports

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What is the distinguishing factor that separates elite level players from high end professionals?

My answer to this would be skill. There are many other factors that will influence this, but skill is the benchmark for which we rank the greatest players in the world. Lionel Messi is far more skillful than the average professional soccer player thus making him one of the best. His attitude, pursuit of perfection, effort and organic playing style, for me distinguish him as the greatest.

However my concern is not with discussing who’s the best and why but more so how come the best or most skilled players and teams don’t always win? Redefined, how come lower end teams can compete and even beat the elite level teams despite having less skill?

There are circumstantial factors that may influence why Chelsea will lose to a team of less talented players. Human error, confidence, energy levels or even flawed tactics will impact the result in some way or another but I am looking to elucidate on the major contributing factor as to why these teams can compete against the top end teams.

My answer is athleticism.

These teams are equally as conditioned as the greatest teams in the world if not more so. To compensate for the lack of skill these teams must ensure they can cope with the physical demands high levels of proficiency impose upon lesser teams and figure how to counteract it. When you compete against a player of enormous skill you need to ensure that he will not beat you when it comes to the physical challenges. Will they be faster to the ball? Will they jump higher to win a header? In a 50/50 battle who will come out on top? Will they still be sprinting come the 90th minute to create or stop a match winning chance? I feel the only way the lower end teams in the premier league, who average salaries of $10.000 a week to the higher end teams who fork out on average $150.000 +, can compete is by ensuring their players are in peak physical condition.cristianoronaldoshirtless.blogspot.com By focusing in and having athleticism as a high priority, these lower teams have a chance to win. Skill level will fluctuate drastically throughout the professional ranks, but one thing that will certainly be a constant is how fast, fit and strong the players are. See the below article and see how similar the scores and rankings are amongst premier league teams from the 2011 season. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1377679/The-fastest-slowest-fittest-players-Premier-League-club.html

In the UK I think we have it wrong with our youth system, valuing athleticism at too young an age in the believe in cannot be taught, opting for bigger stronger players at a young age and ignoring smaller, all be it more talented players. Children and their coaches should focus on enhancing skills, motor control, knowledge, harnessing natural ability and establishing comfort in their given sport, all the while setting the foundation for athletic growth. Not taking the most physically developed players and crushing other teams whilst focusing entirely upon winning.

What separates the elites, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Germany from the others is not only are they the most skillful players in the world but they are also physically conditioned to peak standards, and intellectually conditioned to play strategic, disciplined and ruthless styles of play that the average team cannot deal with.

My defining message here is that athleticism is a prerequisite and integral component of anyone looking to play to a high standard. Skill alone will only get you so far, as players with great skill but no conditioning don’t exist in the higher leagues, but highly conditioned players with lower ability are abundant and thriving.

Athletic conditioning both physically and mentally is what allows those with less skill to compete and hold their own at the top level. Without either of these your chances of competing are drastically impaired.

I know vs I do

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I know vs I do.

‘Converting knowledge into action’

After a conversation with a friend, who couldn’t understand why people needed a personal trainer nor nutritional advice due to the simplistic equation:

Healthy food + regular exercise = weight loss/ healthy body.

As the vast majority of the public know at least 10 different forms of healthy food and at least 10 different forms of exercise why do they need someone to tell them what they already know? In a one sentence answer I would have to agree with him and I am sure the vast majority of overweight people out there would.

So if everyone knows what to eat and a variety of exercises, why is there still a nation of frustrated overweight, sick and obese people who have consistently tried and failed to optimise their health? It appears simply knowing what to do and what to eat is not the problem as the core knowledge is not absent, more so the knowledge and mechanics required to ‘do’.

‘I know’ vs ‘I do’ will dictate the level of success people achieve. With the initial being common advocates of the rhetoric ‘I know, I know’ In exasperated tired voices when people tell them ‘You need to do x, to achieve y’. Despite knowing what they need to do, they have no idea how to do it or even the motivation. There is a huge knowledge depleted void in between the baseline awareness and the desired goal.

So how do you convert ‘I know’ into the ‘I do’:

Phase 1. Acquire Knowledge.

  1. Firstly you take what you know: Exercise = improved health. You then expand upon what exactly exercise is: running stairs, lifting weights or maybe as basic as being more active.
  2. Healthy food = healthy body. Go shopping for healthy food and cleanse house from bad foods.

If you do not know much about exercise nor nutrition then you have he choice to independently research the topic  or you can assign a professional to educate you. Once you have decided upon this you can move onto the next phase.

Phase 2. Plan of Action.

  1. with the necessary information you know need to decide when you are going to do utilize it. 3 times a week for exercise? Once a week shopping to get healthy supply of food? What time? hwo does it work around your schedule?

Once you have figured this out, move along happily to phase 3.

Phase 3. Measurement of success.

  1. With knowledge and a plan in place, you need to decide what exactly are you working towards and how you are going to measure it? To do this you need to set a specific outcome goal which will determine your success. EG, Lose 20 pounds in 10 weeks.

So now we have: Lose 20 pounds = Running stairs three times a week + eating healthier food = improvements in my health.

Great, you have a goal and the outline of a plan to adhere to. This is an action based strategy, the beginning to achieve a healthier you. Many people could adhere to this without the help of a personal trainer.

However this is still in the ‘I know’ phase. Just because we have written a few things down and made a promise, does not mean the knowledge has been converted into action. Yet it is positive and necessary steps towards it.

In order to ensure you follow these actions we need a few more important things; Commitment, accountability, motivation and true measurements of success. Without these it is very easy to devalue your plan of action and bypass the required steps to achieve your goals.

It is a necessity to take responsibility, to have clear markers of success, to be motivated and committed to getting up, getting out and doing it.

Phase 4 of converting the ‘I know’ into the ‘I do’:

  1. Commit to the task at hand and take full responsibility for whether or not you are successful.
  2. Get base line measures.
  3. Find out what will motivate you to persist throughout and fuel you desire to finish.

The final goal is the nucleus of your commitment to change. Motivation will ensure commitment, which will invariably help achieve your goal.

Phase 5.

1. Get up get out achieve.

In summary, people do not need a personal trainer to tell them to eat healthy and exercise. The necessity of a trainer is to provide a support system with action based strategies that include workout plans specific to their goals, knowledge on how to correctly perform these exercises and why, habitual changes to daily routines and lifestyles, physical measurements: weight, body fat %, girth measurements (if weight loss is your goal), how to take accountability and input motivational strategies to ensure commitment and continuous participation.

It is your own knowledge, individual goals, intrinsic motivation and lifestyle that will determine the level of help you need.

A good personal trainer/ lifestyle coach will provide sufficient knowledge and guidance in all of the above areas, not just a list of exercises to do and food to eat. Most people already know this. Drastic changes to your life via improvements with your health are certainly not easy and there is an abundance of misinformation, scams and bogus programs that can deter you away from achieving your health goals. We are here to make the journey as easy as possible, enjoyable and more importantly achievable.