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It’s easy to feel self conscious in the gym. All the weird looking machines, all the big muscly men making weird noises and lets not forgot the gorgeous slim girls in their crop tops who don’t break a sweat and still look perfect, whilst you’re in the corner red faced, panting with mascara running down your face. There’s no way you can try that new exercise you’ve seen online without looking like a complete idiot whilst everyone is watching, right?
Wrong. All this worry is completely made up. Yep that’s right, it’s all in your head. Everyone in the gym is exactly like you, they just wanna get in, workout and get out. Plus if you have a goal you’re working towards, whether that’s weight loss or muscle gain, how is feeling self conscious helping you towards your goal? It’s not, in fact it’s probably very detrimental to it. Below are some tips to help you get over your self consciousness.
You’ll only get more confident by going
It’s a vicious cycle. You don’t go because you feel self conscious, then you’ll be mad because you didn’t go which will lead to lower self esteem, then you’ll feel even more self conscious so you won’t go the next day. Now, I know it will seem scary but you just have to muster up the courage and go. Once you’ve done it once you’ll feel more confident and go the next time, then you’ll have been twice and you’ll feel even more confident. Remember you’re going to the gym to better yourself, so even if you feel out of place you’re in the right place! The only way to break this cycle is to just do it, it won’t be as bad as you’ve made it seem in your head I promise.
Focus on you and what you’re doing, not everyone else
You’re there to work on your body right? So focus on that, focus on feeling all your muscles working, focus on your breathing. Stand in a mirror and watch yourself, check your form. Don’t focus on the guys in the free weights because your mind will start racing ‘Is he watching me?… Can he see the sweat mark under my boobs?… ugh I bet I look disgusting…am I doing this right? Oh god I’m doing it wrong I bet I look stupid’ etc. These thought are gonna put you off, so just don’t even look at others. If you need to, go find a quiet corner or see if you can use the Studio. FOCUS ON YOU.
No one is looking at you I promise
Have you ever stared really hard at someone whilst they were working out? No obv, you don’t want someone to catch you doing that. Well everyone else is the same, they’re gonna feel pretty stupid if you catch them staring at you. I promise, 99% of the time people aren’t staring at you, it’s just another silly thought you need to crush! Also, a lot of the guys in the gym are pretty vain (no offence guys) so they’ll probably be too busy flexing their arms and checking themselves out to check you out.
Remember everyone started somewhere
No one was born in the gym. Even the most advanced lifter, or the girl who’s really really good in step class started somewhere. They probably felt the way you do now. People like this aren’t going to judge you, in fact they’ll probably be thinking ‘good for you’ for starting your fitness journey.
Get a plan
Being prepared will help you to feel more confident. You’ll feel more embarrassed wondering around aimlessly. Speak to a trainer ( I know a good one if you need one… cough cough) about getting a training programme. You’ll know exactly what you’re doing each time you go and you’ll reach your goals quicker with professional help.
I hope this will help you if you feel self conscious. Please get in touch if you have any questions or want more tips
Who is hating the dark mornings and nights? Meeeeee. Ugh it can deffo get you down and it’s only gonna get worse. It can also make you feel very unmotivated when it comes to training. You’ve gotta have super girl level 100 motivation to get yourself up for the gym before work in winter. Or even after work when all you feel like doing is going home and snuggling up. So here are my top tips to keep you motivated during these cold dark winter months:
Focus on the benefits
Ever heard the saying ‘summer bodies are made in winter’ and thought yeah right! Well guess what? It’s true. You can’t leave it until 6 weeks before your holiday in July to look amazing in your bikini. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. You need to get going right about now. Focus on that bikini body girls. Exercising during winter is probably even more important than summer, it helps keep your immune system strong. No body wants to be sick all winter so get moving!
Grab your boyfriend, bestie or sister and go train together. You’ll be less inclined to cancel a workout if you’re letting them down. You can help motivate each other during your sessions. Or make it a competition, who’s the fastest? Who’s the strongest? Ever wanted to try that particular class but scared? It’s less daunting going with your gym partner!
Try something new
Ever wanted to try Pilates? Or Zumba? Or even outdoor exercising? If you’re lacking motivation trying something new may just be the kick up the butt you need and stop you feeling bored, which will lead to you just sacking off the gym. So go ahead and try that thing you’ve always wanted to do.
Set yourself smaller goals
Okay so bikini body for summer 2018 might be your goal, but realistically in your head it seems a long way away. This can lead you off track, the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ attitude might kick in. So combat it but setting smaller goals. Try setting yourself weekly goals,
; set a weekly workout goal and a nutritional goal.
Make a new playlist
The best workout music has 120-140 bpm. It’s scientifically proven that listening to music makes you push harder during workouts. So get on sound cloud, Spotify or whatever you use and get some new tracks saved. Shuffle so you don’t know what’s coming next.
Keep your gym kit in your car
If you usually train after workout DO NOT GO HOME FIRST. I repeat, DO NOT GO HOME. You’ll get inside, in to the warmth ooooh so cosy, you’ll sit down for five minutes and before you know it your date with the barbell is cancelled. Instead, put your stuff in your car and head over to the gym straight from work, no excuses. You’ll be fine once you’ve walked through the door trust me.
I hope these tips help y’all. Remember you’ve got this guys! Winter exercise- piece of p***
I spent this weekend completely over indulging. It was my friend’s birthday so we took a trip to Manchester. We went for a lovely meal, followed by birthday cake then a night of drinking (although, I didn’t drink too much, so wasn’t too hungover Sunday which was good, I’m a helpless little wreck on a hangover). We had a fry up breakfast in the morning and then I had a takeaway last night too as I didn’t have anything in the house to cook.
I wouldn’t have been able to do this a few years ago. Living with an eating disorder makes weekends away and social events extremely difficult. I would have been anxious all week running up to it, and then I would have spent all day Sunday feeling extremely guilty and in a low mood about what I’d eaten. This would then have set my mood for the week in terms of food. I would probably have been very restrictive in order to ‘make up’ for the weekend I’d just had (don’t do this it doesn’t work and it’s dangerous).
Now I can’t stress this enough, you shouldn’t feel guilty about food. It’s a very negative thought pattern, trust me I learnt this the hard way. So here are my top tips for getting back on track and banishing ‘ food guilt’ :
Accept and move on
You can’t change the past, so obsessing and overthinking isn’t going to do you any good whatsoever. Life happens. At times, you’re going to be put in to situations where you can’t stick to a particular meal plan, or you don’t have a healthy option. It’s important to remember that one diet mistake, doesn’t mean you’re failing and in the long run, it’s probably not going to have a huge impact on your end goal. Nobody is perfect. Even all your fitness idols on instagram, (who only ever post pictures of their poached eggs with kale and those little tomatoes still on the vines, covered in seeds you’ve never heard of) slip up and fall of the diet wagon. So learn to forgive yourself, don’t dwell on it and move along.
Learn that life is about balance
Even if you are trying to lose weight, life still needs to be enjoyable. Yes, you might want to desperately drop some pounds, but you shouldn’t be strict all the time. This is another extremely dangerous thought pattern around food. Also, being super super strict all the time can lead to you have a humongous blow out, which will make you feel bad… It’s a very vicious cycle. If you’re eating healthy nutritious foods 90% of the time an occasional chocolate treat isn’t going to kill you.
Get straight back on it
This is something I used to be very guilty of doing and I’ve heard it a hundred times from people. So you’ve eaten something you felt you shouldn’t have and think ‘ oh well the day is ruined so I may as well carry on eating crap all day”‘. Don’t! This is going to make you feel even worse the next morning, those guilty feelings will linger around longer than they should. Accept and move on, like we’ve just spoken about. Make sure the next thing you put in your mouth is something healthy. Get back in the gym, get the blood flowing and the happy endorphins realising. You’ll feel better after trust me!
If you often feel guilt around food please check out http://www.b-eat.co.uk, for more information.
I’m starting a bulk next week so thought this was a good time to write this post. I’ve heard from a few different girls that they are scared of bulking and I’ll admit I was really scared to start my first bulk back in January but it turned out I actually loved it!
So what exactly is bulking and why would you do it?
In a nutshell, bulking is adding excess calories to your diet. This is called a caloric surplus and it means you eat more calories than what you burn off. These extra calories help to build muscle mass, so if you want to add some size you need to eat to grow! These extra calories also give you a lot more energy than normal, which means you can lift heavier, putting your muscles under the metabolic stress they need to get bigger! But bulking does come at a cost – you’re going to add some body fat. There’s no doubt about it, this will happen! This is why a lot of girls are scared to bulk, especially if you’ve worked hard to get lean. So below I’m gonna tell you how you can keep that body fat gain to a minimum!
Clean vs dirty bulk , what’s best?
Okay so you may have come across these terms. A clean bulk means you’re going to keep all your foods nice and healthy. Think chicken, white rice, pasta, vegs etc with the occasional cheat meal of pizza thrown in . A dirty bulk is the complete opposite, you’re gonna get those extra calories and you don’t care how. You’ll eat whatever you want. So what would I recommend? As women, we all have a lovely little friend that lives inside us called oestrogen. Our little friend Oestrogen makes it a lot harder for us to shift body fat compared to men. So I would always recommend a clean bulk. Whilst 2800 cals of clean food is going to feel like you’re eat for England compared to 2800 of dirty food, (which will probably leave you surprised at how little food you get for the cals) a clean bulk is going to make sure you keep the excess fat to a minimum. You also need to think about how these foods affect your mood. Ever had a huge pig out on pizza, chips, fizzy pop followed by a dessert and felt like absolute crap the next day? Would you want to feel like this all the time? No you wouldn’t, not to mention the fact this is really going to have an effect on your training. Keep it clean girls.
How should you split your macros on a bulk?
A bulk is not the time to be scared of carbs. Carbs are your friend. Carbs are going to refeed your muscles after training when they are depleted of glycogen. This is what is going to make them grow. You also wanna make sure you keep your protein intake high. Protein helps to repair our muscles and with all that extra heavy training they’re gonna need it! I personally use a 40% carb, 40% protein and 20% fats split when bulking. This is a good starting point which can be adjusted if needs be.
Do you need to do cardio?
Whilst cardio is going to burn some extra cals , which is kind of against what a bulk is trying to do I would recommend keeping some Cardio in. Here’s why : cardio is going to burn the carb and fat stores, low intensity cardio in particular can increase your appetite, so you can get away with eating a little more on cardio days (great for cheat meal day). A mixture of low intensity and high intensity cardio will help to keep your body fat down. Try 1 session of each a week. Cardio can also help to decrease recovery time as it helps to stimulate blood flow. So if you wanna get over that heavy leg day quickly, low intensity cardio straight after will work a treat! Let’s not forget the cardiovascular benefits of cardio. It’s important to keep your organs healthy!
What supplements should you use?
I’m not going to go in to masses of detail here or else we’ll be here all day! Supplementation of course, requires research you shouldn’t put anything in to your body without knowing what it does and why you’re using it. You’ll need a post workout fast releasing protein to feed those muscles quick and reduce damage ( whey is the go to , or try soy etc if you have allergies) and a slow releasing protein for bed time to repair muscle tissue whilst you sleep (casein is your boy for this). You’ll also need BCAA’s, these are amino acids which our body can’t produce itself so they needs to come from the diet. They help to inhibit the breakdown of muscle cells, play a role in energy production during exercise, reduce muscle soreness and can help improve insulin sensitivity. Basically they are amazing and you should be using them all year round intra workout. Glutamine is another amino acid which aids recovery and stops muscle wastage, I like it use this post workout. I also like a product from bulk powders called peptopro , go check it out it does wonders for DOMS. I would also recommend using intra workout carbs , they’re the secret to new gains! There’s lots about such as maltodextrin, dextrose etc but I really like highly branched cyclic dextrin. Hit up bulk powders they have everything you need and lots of info on how these products work. Also remember to take care of your joints (especially as you’ll be lifting heavier), omega oils, cod liver oil, glucosamine sulphate and calcium will help with this.
Here are a few more things I’d recommend:
– keep a training diary, so you can progressively make your workouts harder, with weight increases, increases in number of sets etc
– get a couple of rest days, your body needs rest time to grow
– take pictures and measurements each week to track your progress
– make sure you stretch! A good foam rolling session a couple of times a week will help to stop muscle tightness
– you are going to get softer, you’ll lose your abs, feel less defined and a bit chunky. This can be hard mentally but you have to trust the process. On the plus side you’re boobies will get a little bigger yay. Try to not let it get you down!
Another small side note: if you’re currently on a caloric deficit (cutting) do not move straight up in to a bulk as you risk adding a lot of body fat. Move up to maintenance calories first, for 6-8 weeks and then increase up to a caloric surplus!
If you have any questions on bulking please contact me and I’ll be happy to help! I’m going to be doing a weekly diary of my own bulk on the blog so you can see how I get on and what it feels like to bulk before you give it a go yourself!