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The importance of setting goals

One thing that I have learnt since I started taking my fitness seriously, is to never underestimate the importance of having a goal to focus on. Time after time I would aimlessly wander into the gym and do the same thing every day (cardio, of course) and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted. I now know this was because I hadn’t considered a specific goal to focus on, and so I wasn’t working towards anything.

Since setting myself goals (both aesthetic and strength) I began to notice improvements with my body and mind. My long-term goals have been to improve my strength when lifting, strengthen my abs, and of course work on the booty. With these goals in mind, I started researching as to how I could achieve them. However, I do understand that it’s not as easy as that, with so much conflicting research it requires trial and error, but you will eventually find a way of achieving your goals that is best suited to you. With my long-term goals in mind, I will then make a mental note of what I want to achieve in the short-term to help my progress towards the goal e.g to deadlift/squat a certain weight.

If this method isn’t for you, you might consider setting yourself ‘SMART’ targets. This is a way to set a goal that encourages you to deconstruct your goal to make it more achievable;

Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time

Once you have a goal in mind you can begin to think about the ways in which you can achieve it, measure your progress, and keep on the right track to reaching your goal whilst ensuring it is manageable. The key thing here is how you interact with your goal – it’s something that you should be investing energy and focus into.

I know some people may think that having a goal takes the fun away from getting fit and staying healthy, but I love how flexible you can be with your goals. They can be long-term, short-term, generic, or specific, the important thing is to have something to work towards which will help you to see those results! My experience is that a goal helps to keep me motivated as I’m so determined to achieve it.

Setting yourself a goal also has other benefits, such as providing you with a sense of achievement, and helps you to keep track of your progress by forcing you to see how far you’ve come – something we could definitely all acknowledge and appreciate more!

To wrap this post up, if you’re not seeing the changes that you want to get I would seriously recommend coming up with a long-term goal or area to focus your efforts on, then work out how you are going to achieve this by setting attainable short-term goals to keep you in the right direction.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

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How to Feel Confident in a Gym

I completely get that Gyms can be scary places at times. There is nothing more intimidating than when you’re first starting out, and it feels like everyone else around you knows exactly what they’re doing, how to work everything, and you really don’t. But everyone feels like this initially, the key is to keep going. I’ll be sharing my tips on what makes me feel confident in the gym so you can get rid of those pre-gym nerves.

1. Realise that everyone has an equal right.

I know this sounds very simple, but once I realised that everyone in the gym pays the same amount as me, it gave me a sense of entitlement. When I first joined the gym, I found myself only sticking to cardio machines, such as the cross-trainer and treadmill, as I felt self-contained and like I wasn’t going to get in the way of those serious ‘gym-goers’. Then I realised I’m paying the same amount as everyone here, and so I’m just as entitled to use everything. This also applies to those who feel put off by the weights section…just go for it and stand your ground!

2. Plan your workout.

I think half of some of the trouble is not that people don’t know how they are going to complete their workout, it’s what this workout will entail. I never step foot into the gym unless I’m completely certain of what my workout will be, and how many sets/reps of each exercise I’m planning on completing. This gives me a sense of direction and allows me to get the most out of my gym session, plus it takes some of the stress out of thinking what to do next, as it’s all there in front of you. Typically, I’ll write my workout in the note section of my phone so I can refer back to the same workout whenever!

3. Wear something that makes you feel confident.

This could be your favourite pair of gym leggings, or some new trainers, or anything else that makes you feel good and ready to complete an amazing workout. I’m not saying that what you wear will get rid of the worries you have about the gym, but it certainly will help in making you feel good! I believe if you feel good within yourself, your self-confidence will follow.

4. Go with a gym partner

So many people do this, and I think it’s a great idea when you’re new to the gym and still figuring out how everything works, and what machines work best for you. Despite offering many benefits, such as providing motivation and checking your form, a gym buddy can help you to figure out how all the machines and equipment work. Also, this one will help if you want to venture into the weights section.

4. Focus on yourself.

Don’t forget why you go to the gym in the first place. For me, I’m there to better myself, to improve my health and fitness, and to become the best version of myself – don’t let anyone get in the way this. I really focus on the quality of my workout when I’m at the gym, my form, and so many other things, that often I lose track of my surroundings and drown out what everybody else is doing or saying. Also, I know it may feel like people stare in the gym, but they might actually be taking inspiration from your workout – just be confident in yourself ❤

I hope this has inspired some of you to join the gym, if this is the reason why you have been putting it off, and for those of you that already go, to have an amazing care-free session,

Jazzy B ❤

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How to Stay Motivated

I think we have all experienced a time where motivation levels reach an all-time low. A lack of motivation can make you feel so far from your goals, but this is most certainly not the case and a simple change in your outlook can help almost immediately. Hopefully,  this post will help you to get out of a motivation rut, and back to feeling unstoppable.

1) Acknowledgment

It is okay to feel unmotivated. I think when people feel unmotivated they fixate on this rather than the solution, or cause, but change how you choose to view your lack of motivation can easily overcome this feeling. Try and think if there is anything that might be directly affecting your level of motivation e.g, work stress, life changes, tiredness, no matter how big or small, any reason is valid. However, it may also be the case that you can’t think of anything that is negatively affecting your motivational drive, and again this is fine – motivation is not constant, and thank goodness not too, as we’d all be exhausted! It may be the last thing you want to do to try and rebuild your motivation, but to have a break from the gym, and thinking about fitness/goals can be the best thing. This time out will allow for you to feel refreshed, and ready to smash some fitness goals!

2) Change your workout routine 

Often, when we get settled into a fitness routine, it is very easy to become complacent. Ironically, comfort zones can be dangerous places! If you’re doing the same workouts day, in day out, it is inevitable that your motivation will decrease. Not only will this cause mental complacency, but your body will stop responding the way it used to, as it also becomes used to the same routine. You will notice the benefits of mixing up your workouts as the body responds best when it is challenged. There are so many ways to change the way you workout such as training with a friend, trying a new workout, even changing the time you normally train can make a difference.

3) Setting realistic goals

Having a goal to work towards increases my motivation so much! Make the goal specific to you, and really focus on achieving this. The goal can be anything from a new personal best, to simply going to the gym a certain amount of times in a week. It is also important that the goals you set are achievable whilst still have an element of challenge to them. Fitness journals are a great way to record your progress, goals, and achievements, as it can be so easy to forget how far we’ve come!

4) Reward yourself

Closely related to setting goals is rewarding yourself when you achieve them! All work and no play is most definitely not fun, so when you reach a goal, give yourself a reward. My reward always seems to be new gym leggings, you can never have enough :’)

4) Take it back to the beginning

What made you start your fitness journey? How motivated did you feel when you first started getting into fitness? It’s about rekindling that initial drive that got you started and reminding yourself exactly why you do what you do. For me, I always try and be the best version of myself that I can, when I workout it’s a celebration of what my body can do!

Thank you for reading, and I hope this post has helped you in some way,

Jazzy B ❤

 

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5 Things to Instantly Make You Feel Healthier

Let’s face it, new year and Christmas have been and gone, we all indulged (as you should too!) but now you’re wanting to get back on track and start the new year how you mean to go on. If you’re like me, I like to feel my best rather rapidly after the post-Christmas chocolate binge, although this may take more than a cup of green tea, with these 5 feel-good tips you’ll be well on your way.

IMG_09731) Lemon water and honey

I love starting my day off with half a slice of lemon in some hot water with a drizzle of honey, not only does it smell so refreshing but it’s so invigorating not to rely on caffeine to start the day. There are many benefits to the lemon and honey combo, as it helps digestion, prevents acne, and boosts immunity. It’s also known to detoxify the liver (great for those who are not doing so well at dry January or had a few too many at Christmas ;))

2) Snack wellIMG_3901

This one is very tricky when there is a half-eaten box of celebrations calling your name. To overcome this, I’ll put all of the leftover Christmas goodies in one cupboard and pray that out of sight out of mind really works ;). I’ll also do a food shop for my healthy essentials, and fill the fridge with wholesome, nourishing foods to encouraging healthy snacking once again!

IMG_83843) Include a side salad with every meal

This is also a great tip for portion control, as the portion sizes become far more generous over the festive period! Not only does it make your plate nice and colourful, but it makes you conscious of how much food you have on your plate. Of course, salads don’t have to be boring either, I’ve noticed lots of lower calorie salad dressings hitting the supermarket shelves which will most definitely spice up any bland salad! For me, a salad is not complete with avocado (my obsession lately)!

4) ExerciseIMG_9573

Possibly the last thing you want to be thinking about after a lovely Christmas, but for me, nothing can beat that post-workout feeling. Exercise doesn’t have to be an hour of cardio on the dreadmill, it can be something simple like going for a walk or jog! Also, if you’re not quite ready to go back to the gym, Youtube offers a great selection of workout videos. A few channels that I recommend you subscribe to include ‘Group Hiit’, ‘The Bodycoach TV’ and ‘FitnessBlender’. They each offer loads of workouts lasting about 20 minutes, which is a great way to start your day.

 

5) Relaxation

IMG_8778Being a psychology student, of course to me health is so much more than physical. There is a study by Holmes and Rahe (1967) in which Christmas makes it onto the list of the main life events that people rated caused them the most stress! Therefore, it is so important to take time out for yourself, not only over the festive period but all year round. Some options that I find work best are getting lost in a good book, having a candle-lit bubble bath, doing 30 minutes of yoga or guided meditation (again a quick youtube search will bring up thousands of guided meditation walk-throughs). When I do yoga, I use an app called ‘Yoga Studio’ that costs £5.00 on the App Store and Google Play, I love the fact that you can do it in your own home, too!

I hope you’ve found this post useful,

Jazzy B ❤

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How to Stay Healthy on Holiday

For me going on holiday involves relaxing, exploring and enjoying all things food. I Have not long returned from a lovely holiday to Gran Canaria, where I most certainly did all of the above! However, often the hardest thing is about finding the balance between staying healthy/maintaining your progress whilst also enjoying and indulging in all things food and culture.

For me, the key to finding this balance is in fact quite simple: take things back to their basics! This applies to many things such as exercise, food, treats, sleep, and relaxation. If this balance is achieved you’ll have one feel-good holiday. For example, I ensured I ate good food, went for lots of strolls (even if that was only to the shop to get some chocci ;)) had a good nights sleep, and importantly allowed some time to chill. I will be sharing with you my tips on how to have a great holiday and feel on top of your game at the same time.

  • Healthy airport snacks

    IMG_6651
    Hippeas chickpea puffs, a Fulfil cookies and cream protein bar, some nuts, and Fruit-tella sugar-free fruit foams.

I love the buzz of the airport. For me, the holiday starts as soon as I’m in the airport. This is the time that I’ll buy my snacks for the plane because who doesn’t love snacking on the plane?! Typically I’ll buy a protein bar, a packet of nuts and a small sweet something, this way you’re less tempted to fall for the sugar-filled plane snacks. To the right are a few of the snacks I purchased.

  • Be as active as possible

By this, I don’t mean spending hours in the hotel gym  (because let’s face hotel gyms can be seriously hit or miss 😂) or even going for a 5 mile jog. I’m talking about making smaller changes such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to the nearest beach or having a stroll around the local area. It just so happens that there was a massive hill (called Lomo de Tabaibales) near my hotel which of course I had to walk up, and I’m so glad I did as the views were stunning…even if it was in unpractical pretty sandals. I love going for a morning or evening walk as I find it really relaxing, and it encourages mindfulness – something we could all focus on more.

  • Plenty of good foods

IMG_7645[1]
Wholewheat spaghetti with tuna in tomato sauce, olive and strips of Edam.
Firstly I’ll visit the local supermarket to buy my essentials and to see what foods are available. Then I’ll do a rough plan of dinners that are full of micronutrients, protein, carbs etc. I don’t plan lunches or breakfast as I like to eat what I fancy on holiday, but I find planning dinner helps me to reach my macros. For example, some meals that I cooked this holiday include tuna and wholemeal spaghetti with olives, noodles with sardines, tomatoes and chickpeas, and a chickpea and egg Buddha bowl.

 

IMG_7651[1]
An example of some of the foods I purchased once I had completed my meal plan.

For an all-inclusive holiday, the temptation can be a lot harder when it comes to meal times what with the never-ending buffet full of yummy desserts…so tempting! For breakfast I’ll go for foods high in good fats and protein, and also carbs e.g scrambled eggs on toast with an avocado or oats with some fruit. For lunch and dinner I will always put my side salad on my plate first, then find a healthy protein source and some carbs, and of course, if there is a dessert I like, I’ll have it (in moderation!)

 

Below are some of the dinners I had whilst on my holiday:

  • Pack a few things from home

As I know my protein intake tends to be lower on holiday, I pack some of my favourite protein bars from Grenade and Fulfill, which you can also buy from the airport. Also, instant oat pots such as those from ‘Oomf’ are great for a protein boost. Another thing I’ll pack are mini bags of salt, pepper, and other spices/ herbs to really add flavour to any food that I cook.

  • Enjoy yourself!IMG_7845[1]

Eat healthily, try to be active, and make time for you to unwind. Ultimately you’re on holiday, so of course, you have to indulge in a few drinks and nice food, but the key is to balance this out by making healthier choices elsewhere. Your progress and hard work will not be ruined over the duration of your holiday, in fact, you’ll probably return feeling full of energy and ready to smash some more personal bests!

I hope this blog post has proved that you can have your cake and eat it…quite literally 😉

Jazz B ❤