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

 

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.

Healthy Breakfast menu

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Healthy Breakfast menu

 Breakfast could be rated as the most important meal of the day, as skipping this could lead to a number of problems that will negate any gains you have been making in the gym. It is vital to take time to enjoy this part of the morning, setting your mind and body up for a productive day. Establish a morning ritual, and avoid the quick stop at dunkin donuts and the calorie dense breakfasts that will wreak havoc on your body. With a healthy breakfast and more relaxed morning, you will find you are more alert, energetic and prepared for the day ahead.

 For me there are no excuses for not being able to have a healthy breakfast, no time in the morning? Get up earlier, go to bed earlier, or prepare food before you even go to bed. Tempted by the cereal? Throw that shit out, out of sight is out of mind.

Here is a selection of breakfasts that I commonly eat. Each are extremely easy and quick to make, with 10 minutes maximum prep time. Not only are they delicious, they are extremely healthy.

Side notes: Season each meal with salt and pepper if desired, I like to add flaxseeds to most of my meals for added protein and dose of omega 3. I mostly double the portions and take the second as a lunch option or snack for later on in the day.

*Each individual has different dietary needs. This should be considered before undertaking any diet plan. Please feel free to talk to me to discuss your preferences and specific goals.

Egg banana Pancakes

Heat tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan on a low to medium heat, mash up a banana and egg using a potato masher, blender or fork. Add spoonful of this to the pan and fry; one banana and egg should make 4-5 small pancakes. Top with a spoonful of yogurt and sliced fruit, or add protein powder into the mix for an extra protein boost.

Breakfast stir fry

My favorite and most likely the simplest of the breakfasts. Simply dice; an all-natural chicken sausage, slice of bacon, tomato, mushrooms, spring onion and red pepper and fry it all up. Top with a poached egg if desired and lay it all on a bed of Kale or spinach.

Scrambled eggs/ omelet

Heat a spoon of coconut oil, add a handful of spinach. Break 3 eggs into a cup, add a large spoon of cottage cheese, mix it all up and cook. Either scramble or allow to set and flip omelet style. Add and subtract desired vegetables.

Boiled Chicken salad

Another extremely simple minimalistic type breakfast. Boil a pan of water, add a chicken breast, a few slices of lemon and some seasoning. Whilst this cooks, make a salad adding subtracting any ingredients you wish. I like my salad with Romaine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, raisins and feta cheese.

Fruit smoothie

Woke up late? In a rush? Throw a handful of frozen berries, banana, protein powder and milk (full fat organic for me) and blend. Smoothie recipes are simply endless, add subtract whatever you like, experiment and enjoy.

You will notice the absence of Sugary cereals, breakfast bars, bread, waffles, packaged pancakes, excessive amounts of coffee. Convenience can be our enemy, so get rid of the tempting quick fix options and learn to enjoy a productive start to the day.

Your diet is an integral part of maintaining and achieving a healthy lifestyle. If you want help understanding the different components of a not only a healthy diet, but lifestyle and way of thinking, book yourself in for a consultation and start making the change you desire today.

What can you learn from four talented guys in skinny jeans?

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The true value of hard work, persistence and perseverance.

Representing

Representing

This story begins with me Stood in a small bar in Bangor North Wales, along with my two brothers and a handful of others, waiting to watch a local rock band do their thing. Being forced by the close quarters to stand intimately close to the small stage situated towards the back of the room we focused in and listened as the boys introduced themselves to the small crowd as Catfish and the Bottlemen and began their set.

It didn’t take long for me to appreciate how good these guys were and agree with my brother (somewhat a groupie) that they absolutely rocked. The band, music and lyrics were all awesome, ignorant to the cramped venue and minimal audience they performed with an energy that could have powered the miniscule city and projected a love for their music that was contagious.

That was four years ago and the last time I had the pleasure of seeing the boys live until recently. In between that time the band has evolved exponentially. On the back of a UK tour that was mostly sold out and the release of several singles that deservedly garnered national attention and praise, they travelled over to America to continue on their pursuit of becoming rock stars.
Through following the band I knew they were performing in New York at the Governors Ball and after a quick message asking for the possibility of a ticket, they happily complied and sorted me out with a backstage pass to the festival. With nothing but a smile and my groupie CATB giant sperm t-shirt, I took a road trip to support the local band and bare witness to their continuing ascent in the music world.

It was amazing to see these guys who I went to school with performing at such a big festival. Yet it was believable, I knew the effort these guys had put into their band. It was through hard work, persistence and perseverance that they had progressed from performing in a small stinky bar in a small Welsh city to the City that never sleeps. This journey consisted of countless performances in the UK and Europe (performing over 100 shows in 18 months) always enhancing their reputation, their skill set and musical talent in any town and bar that allowed them to get their name out there and make love to the ears of the masses.

And yet the boys are not content, after their set in Governors ball I joined them as they watched with hungry eyes the large crowd that screamed in adornment to the unique sounds of The Strokes. During this performance Billy (guitar, vocals) expressed the bands lust to perform to sell out crowds and headline in future festivals.
After watching them perform earlier on the New York stage and seeing the undeniable talent and belief they had in themselves , I had no doubt that they will achieve their dreams.

Now you my ask What on earth does this have to do with fitness?

When these guys first formed and began playing in the garage of ‘two drunks’ who were kind enough to facilitate their noise, they dreamt big and envisioned sell-out crowds, world tours and the people who love music loving their music. They set their goals high and dreamt big. And now those outrageous dreams spawned in a small North Walian garage are apart of their reality.

To me the rise of Catfish and the Bottlemen is a prime example of the universal principles and power of hard work and effort. They have demonstrated that there are no short cuts to your goals, how persistence and perseverance are the mediators for progression, no matter what you do. If you truly believe in yourself and your capabilities, persist and persevere you can achieve truly outstanding things. To go from a garage to selling out gigs is a monumental achievement that does not come with ease or luck but hard work and effort.

So the next time you look in the mirror or take an introspective moment and are unhappy with what you see, don’t be filled with hate or negativity. Instead take time to envision what you want to see, realise your potential not your limitations. Focus on setting goals and seek to achieve them one step at a time. As always seek positive change by Loving yourself enough to fuel your self-belief and progression will come along with hard work, persistence and effort. Value yourself enough to make improvements and harness the true power of a positive mind-set and combined with the hard work you will see progression..

To see more of the catfish and the bottlemen listen to their new single: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyLTRjMSX6k
http://www.catfishandthebottlemen.com

As always contact me for any questions on health related issues or if your simply getting started with health and fitness and are unsure of how to begin/ set goals, I will try to be the best help I can; patrick-jennings1@hotmail.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

How to make the right decision when it comes to Health and Fitness

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Key words: Choice, decisions, individuality, support.

 

Everyday life presents us with an abundance of choice, each dressed and tailored in its own manner tactfully seducing us in. Though we are fortunate that we live in an economy that allows access to so many options when making our decisions, the sheer scale of selection can also add a pressure to make the right one, and when that decision holds financial and personal ramifications, that pressure increases. Personally I lose the ability to read when looking at a restaurant menu or forget I have ever had a drink when trying to decide what to order at a bar. When the options are plenty, the fear of getting it wrong or making a poor choice can often cause hasty decisions (why did I choose the F*****g lobster!!)

In my pursuit to help clarify how to make the right decision when it comes to the most important thing in your life; your health and well-being, here is another analogy.

Imagine if you were led to the forefront of a vast beautiful forest and asked to pick out a tree. This tall imposing green wall is built up of thousands of trees, each similar yet unique in its own way and you stare flabbergasted at the variety of choice available and realize you know nothing about trees.

The choice is simply daunting, maybe even slightly intimidating and in your haste and unwillingness to appear stupid you rush in without true consideration of what’s on offer and scuttle over somewhat overwhelmed, to the easiest and most convenient tree available. When questioned why you choose this particular wood, you simply reply that most people seemed to like it and after all it was the most convenient. Not because it had better attributes than the other trees available? Not because it was better suited to you personally?

With more time and study you could have found a tree that suited you to perfection. But time, being a true valuable commodity simply could not be spared and so you settled for something not quite right for you. It does not take long for you to become unhappy with your choice and soon you depart deflated and disillusioned by the whole thing. With a defeatist attitude you walk away from this forest with nothing but bad memories and the same unfit body that brought you here.

I hope you can relate to this decision making analogy, and haven’t just read a crazy tree lover blabber about trees individuality. This array of choice and associated pressure is how I imagine some people experience when faced with the multitude of options that life presents and more specifically when addressing fitness. How many people have joined a gym fuelled by good intentions only to arrive, stare at the various machines, give them a half hearted go and then leave wondering what the hell they just did for an hour and never to return.

This scale of choice is accentuated by well-funded marketing campaigns which do well to confuse the majority about what’s right for them. What gym should I join? What nutrition plan do I follow? What fitness plan do I do (what is a fitness plan?!) and what bloody supplements should I take? The majority will go straight to the cheapest, most obvious and convenient (planet fitness). Some will venture to more recently adored trees because others seem to like it and ‘Yano, it seems ok’ (spinning, zumba). The more daring endeavor to travel out to some new popular tree that a few kids swear by and try this with little understanding of what it actually is (crossfit). In no way I am saying that these choices are bad ones, only that they may not be suited for you or your individual goals. In the fitness world there is no one size fits all or umbrella prescription that suits everybody.

Before making any decision about what is right for you, your body and your goals you must take time to evaluate your options and your own personal situation.

Given a second chance to choose what is right for you, would you seek guidance by a professional? Who would help you take a step back and study all that is on offer? Do you invest time and money helping you make a very important decision? After all what is more important than your health and happiness, two things that will not only affect you but everyone around you. With less haste into these decisions you will see greater speed at achieving your results.

What’s undeniably beautiful about us, like the trees, is that we are individuals. Although we share common attributes, we are undoubtedly unique and special (just like your mother told you) and so what works for your friends may not always work for you and what works for the greased up model on infomercials guzzling shakes, and strapping himself to anything and everything that sells, may also not work for you, no matter how convincing they sound or how many before and after pictures they flash before your eyes. This comes down to a number of variables:

-Time, accessibility, knowledge, even genetics (this is not an excuse, it’s a variable, genetics should never stop you achieving your goals).

All of these variables are simply numbers in our equation, not answers to our failures, or excuses for our personal stagnation. “I don’t have enough time”, “I don’t know what I am doing”, “I cannot get to a gym and my family has always been fat so its pointless, I am doomed to a life of sloth like energy levels and will never know what my toes look like”

Sound familiar?  

If you are one of the many who cannot decide which tree is right for you then it makes sense to ask an expert………..the personal trainer (not a lumber jack). It is their job and responsibility to know every attribute of each choice and most importantly how compatible they are with you and what you want. They should be able to give you in depth detail on each and every available option and which one will best help you achieve your goals. A personal trainer should always look at what personally suits you, not them. If they do not, they are not an expert nor someone who cares, move on.

As a trainer I individualize my approach to each client and ensure they are on a program that is specific to their needs and level. This is achieved through non-intrusive measurements, a few questionnaires and most importantly nice bit of chin wagging where I actually listen and take into account you. If I cannot help, then I will point you in the right direction and wish you all the best with your goals.

Although it is your job to achieve your goals, we are there to assist you on your journey. We can all get to the same destination, but we may have to use different roads and vehicles to get there. We will help you figure out your route, and guide you along the way.

 

Patrick Jennings is a trainer @ the Coliseum and @the Work out Garage. He also works as local soccer coach. His passion is helping people achieve functional fitness, a sense of well-being and helping children set the foundation for healthy growth.     

For a free consultation or training session please contact Patrick with the address below and he will be happy to arrange a time to talk with you.

Patrick-jennings1@hotmail.co.uk