We live in a world where everything we want to know about is easy to find, either on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone, even the things we are not that interested in will pop up on our social media feeds. This can be a good thing, but it can also be bewildering.
The Fitness industry is massive and you can find any workout, training programme, nutrition advice at the end of your finger tips and whilst this can be very helpful if you know what you are looking for it can be very confusing for some, even a little scary at times. There are also so many images on social media that can make your goals look really daunting.
In my field of work, one of the main things I hear people say is that they want to get a 6 pack!! There are so many chiselled bodies in our social media feeds that it looks like any Tom, Dick or Harry can get a cut physique. But in reality, it’s a lot of consistency, hard work and education about nutrition.
If you are starting your fitness journey you need to have realistic goals. The reason being that if you do not set yourself something achievable, when you start to falter you’ll feel rubbish about yourself and then give up. What you need is something that you can fit into your current lifestyle. It needs to fit around your job, it needs to fit around your family or other commitments. You need to set yourself a challenge that will enable you to start small but you can evolve it into bigger things – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”!!! So for example you could make changes that fit into your day, walk to the shops instead of driving, cycle at the weekend with the kids, join a class that fits in with your diary and make it part of your routine, walk with a friend, then eventually the walks may then turn into runs, you may find yourself looking forward to your exercise. It also depends on what you like doing, if you need motivation join an exercise group, if you prefer to do things alone just plan it into your week and fit it in, go for a walk/run, visit your local gym. Find something, enjoy it, stick to it!!
There is no quick fix. No amount of staring and comparing yourself with the toned bodies on social media is going to help. We all look at other physiques and wish we could look like them, but we need to learn to find a balance. It’s a fruitless pursuit otherwise. Unless you are going to spend every day in the gym, train in the right way, get information on how to train, follow plans and eat the right way, then you’ll probably find it hard to reach certain goals. If you want to take this path, then do it, embrace it and go for it, you may realise that it is what you were looking for. But for the person that is slightly exercise shy and self-conscious, which is most of us, it is hard to know where to start. It is difficult to walk into a gym on your own and see all the cardio machines, the weights, benches, barbells, squat racks etc. I am one of these people. Even though I’m a fitness instructor I’m very scared of the gym, I always feel self-conscious when I go into one. I feel like everyone is looking at me and waiting to see what I do. This is my insecurity and I need to get over it, but can empathise with anyone else who feels this way.
But remember we are all different so we need to find ways to exercise and train that make us happy and that fit into our schedules, which is why you should try a different variety of exercises to find out what suits you and what you enjoy. There is no point enduring an hour long class whilst gritting your teeth and hating every moment of it, or going to the gym but not really knowing what to do, you will just go through the motions and not get results if you are not enjoying it. Find something that empowers you, that makes you feel good and you will get results, however small.
People change over time; it is inevitable, whether it be that you become happier, you fall in love or you grow older. However, from a distance, people cannot notice the change. Changing your physical appearance is a challenge and something that can be inspiring and motivational to many different people. My dad, Scott Godley, accepted the challenge and has made a difference to not only his own life, but mine too.
It all began when I decided to try a new sport, rugby. To me, this was a nerve-racking decision as I would be trying a sport I had no experience in, with different people whom I would have to cooperate with in order to play effectively. Dad has always been interested in rugby, in fact he was the sole reason I was giving it a go (turns out it was a very good idea!). As my interest grew, and my achievements in the sport progressed, dads support flourished and continued to keep me on track. Little did I know that he felt different.
Yeah, there’s no denying the fact that he loves being involved in my rugby interests, but I never knew he felt uncomfortable. And no, I don’t mean socially uncomfortable around fellow spectators or parents, I mean uncomfortable in his own skin. I guess I never understood or saw why because he had previously lost 3 stone doing Slimming World, so I assumed that he felt happy with the way he looked. And to me, he looked perfectly fine before doing this. All that mattered to me was that he was still the caring and supportive dad he had always been.
NV Health and Fitness ran a bootcamp class on a Saturday morning in Pitney, so dad decided to try it out. He came back home after the first few sessions tired and worn out, realising that, in his eyes he had far to go in order to reach his goal. Dedication meant that dad attended the class every single week for the next 3 months and each time becoming fitter and more experienced. Soon his determination boosted his confidence and he began running; he started running 1 or 2 kilometres per run, maybe once or twice a week. At this stage, I could see that stopping for him would be a long way into the future.
Weeks progressed alongside the distance of dad’s runs, 1k turned into 8k within the blink of an eye. Sometimes I would join him and I soon realised that his mentality towards fitness and running had changed; he became like my very own motivator- spurring me on when I was struggling and trying to distract me if I wanted to give up in order to keep me running next to him.
All thanks to NV Health and Fitness dad has managed to lose another stone in weight.
Now dad attends every bootcamp class that he can fit into his busy schedule of work and running around after me (sorry dad, but thank you!!). He recently ran the Langport 10k in an impressive time of just under 50 minutes and is soon to be a part of the NV Health and Fitness team tackling the Grail Quest.
Becoming fitter is a rewarding thing for yourself and for the people that have seen your journey. I am so proud of my dad.
The moral of this blog and of dad’s story is that anyone can change themselves for the better; you just have to start somewhere.
This was a scary but exciting experience. I’d wanted to do a photo shoot for a very long time, but the thought terrified me. I’m not the most photogenic person and I definitely don’t feel comfortable in front of a lens. I feel slightly awkward in my demeanour and stance. Basically, I am not a natural poser! So why would I want to have a photo shoot? My answer is, so I have proof of what I have achieved, to help motivate and encourage people and to show everyone you can change (even when you get older). So I took the plunge and found a fantastic photographer, Simon Hooley at The Image Cella. I had seen some of his work before and I knew that he had a good reputation.
At first I was slightly uncomfortable and I couldn’t relax, not because Simon wasn’t putting me at ease, he was the nicest chap ever, really easy going. It was just my mental block. I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know how to stand, I didn’t know where to look. In short, I felt a prat!!!! This was so out of my comfort zone, in my head I knew what I wanted to look like… swishing hair, laughing, relaxed, strong, confident, sexy… but instead I think I looked like a quivering lump of jelly. And that my friends is how some of you feel when you first start your fitness journey, am I right or am I right!!!? Every new experience we have that makes us go out of our comfort zone is scary stuff, whatever that may be.
But, sure enough after about half an hour I was getting into the swing of things. We were bouncing ideas off each other, my body relaxed, I started to feel strong and the confidence grew. Simon was very complimentary and gave me direction, which enabled me to think less and relax more and enjoy the experience. I am already thinking of what I can do in my next photo shoot!
This blog isn’t just about a photo shoot. It’s about how we tend to stay away from new experiences in life that take us out of our comfort zone. It’s about the things we know we should be doing, but feel like too much effort and so we can’t be arsed. But this is not how we should be living life, we should be bothered, we should do the things that make us feel slightly uncomfortable, push ourselves, make our lives better, give our kids/family/friends someone to look up to and want to aspire to.
Today is the day to try and change something in your life for the better. We can all make small changes, baby steps can take you a long way over time, just don’t stand still. We all need to believe in ourselves more, one of the biggest barriers for me in a lot of things I do is that I over think. I put myself down and worry too much. I am trying to let go of this. You may not believe that I feel all those things, but yes I do. When I’m put into a situation that I’m not comfortable with but I’m learning to embrace it, I’m learning to think differently, and in some cases not give a shit. It is not arrogance or self-importance, it is belief, believe in yourself that you can do things.
Yet again this is where exercise, healthy living and food choices are the fundamental thread to this blog post. If you look after your body, strengthen it, give it exercise, nourish and feed it well then other things begin to fall into place. You will feel better, look better and then the confidence grows, we all have hang-ups and doubts creep into our heads, but do not let them override your mind. You can achieve things, but most importantly enjoy your journey, find something that you enjoy and want to participate in. Getting to grips with these things can be a life changing experience, if you never try you will never know. You could be missing out on a whole new chapter in your life.
You never know it may be you wanting that photo shoot soon.
We humans like to stick together. When faced with the prospect of going out alone for a run, or dragging ourselves to the gym, we can easily be swayed into staying in the warm and sitting on the sofa.
There are many reasons why it’s better to work out with others. For starters, exercising in a group is more motivational. You will find that you’re spurred on by others, and an encouraging pat on the back is sometimes all it takes to keep you going.
When you plan to exercise with friends you feel obliged not to let them down. It’s much easier to just cheat yourself out of a workout, but when a friend’s relying on you for a lift, or to help get them past a physical challenge, it’s so much harder to back out.
It’s also more sociable training with a group, we respond better to interactions and in turn our serotonin levels are increased (that’s the chemical messenger that makes us feel happy!) When you join a club, all of that support comes as part of the package. There’s an opportunity to share your highs and lows and set new challenges with new friends. You’ll never feel like you’re on your own when you join a club to train with.
Part of the beauty of boot camp and many of my other classes is that everybody has different capabilities, but everyone recognises these differences and encourages and supports. You won’t be left at the back, you’ll be actively encouraged to push beyond your boundaries and experience new challenges. The support of others is a wonderful tool to help motivate and inspire, and who knows what new challenges you’ll achieve as part of a team.
I offer a number of boot camp sessions which focus on including everybody, regardless of age and ability. Be brave, come along and be part of something bigger – who knows what you may achieve!
All shapes and sizes – train right for your body type
So listen up guys, when you next start saying, “oh I’m too fat,” “I’m too skinny”, or “I’m just the wrong shape”, remember this: everyone is different and each of us has a body type which responds better to certain types of training.
Here’s the lowdown on the different types of body:
An ectomorph is typically a light build with small joints and lean muscle. Usually ectomorphs will have long thin limbs and “stringy” muscles. The shoulders of an ectomorph will be thin and narrow. They will generally have trouble gaining weight due a fast metabolism. In order to gain weight ectomorphs need to consume a high number of calories and workouts should focus on the large muscle groups and be short and intense.
Eating before bed can help an ectomorph prevent muscle catabolism (breaking down of muscle tissue). Getting back to lean muscle is easy for this group, and they can lose weight easily.
Mesomorphs are naturally better equipped for bodybuilding as they tend to have a large bone structure, big muscles and are of a naturally athletic physique. Gaining and losing weight is not so much of a challenge for them and they are naturally strong giving them a perfect start to building muscle.
With weight training mesomorphs tend to see very quick gains – however as they gain fat far more easily than ectomorphs they need to be careful with calorie intake. A combination of weights and cardio works well.
The endomorph tends to be of a solid build and gains fat very easily. They are usually of a shorter build with thick arms and legs, and strong muscles (especially the upper legs.) Endomorphs find they naturally excel in leg exercises such as squats.
Due to a slow metabolism, endomorphs can gain weight very easily – usually fat rather than muscle. Endomorphs need to focus on cardio to counteract this weight gain, as well as build muscle with weights.
Mixing it up
Most people actually have a combination of two body types – generally either ectomorph/mesomorph or mesomorph/endomorph. This means it is perfectly possible to be a mesomorph who gains weight as an endomorph would do.
Identifying which body type you are can help you tailor a training programme suited to your goals far more easily. Also, you can tailor your diet to suit your body type.
So now stop making excuses and getting down about your body – embrace the differences and train right for your type.
Can you tell what your body type is from this information? Let me know what you think you are!
Well what can I say..... Let me start from the beginning.
I have always wanted to do the moonwalk, it has been on my bucket list. Amazing people coming together to raise awareness for Breast Cancer whilst raising money. I didn't even need to think about doing it this year. I had been personal training a great lady who had recently lost people very close to her through the dreaded disease and so I put it to her that we do it together. There was no hesitation from her either, so as soon as registration opened we were on it and we got our place.
I was very excited to get a place and thought nothing more of it, life carried on, kids, work and family. The moonwalk was months away! It was always in the back of my mind that we were doing this huge walk – 26.2 miles in total in the middle of the night! A training plan had to be put together, but still at this point I thought, oh well we have ages, it cannot be that hard to walk 26.2 miles. I had done a marathon!!!
We Started our training in February, this gave us 3 months. Our first walk was 8 miles around the Somerset countryside. We did find this quite challenging, 8 miles seems like nothing when you are going for a run, but takes so long when walking. We did 3 more long walks which included a 10 mile an 18 mile and a 15 mile. They got easier as we got more used to walking the long distances. It is essential to train, no matter what your fitness levels. Whilst on the walks we took snacks to keep up our energy levels, such as nuts, dried fruit, flapjack and protein bars and lots of water, on some walks we were out for 7 hours so it was important we looked after our bodies, I had bought new trainers also as your feet are the main component when walking!! Blisters need to be avoided at all costs, so the right socks and footwear are so important
Saturday the 14th May arrived, we were full of anticipation and trepidation. Would it be cold? Would we hit the wall? All these things we were unsure of. We had our bras fully decorated but we also had a few other layers as we were told it can get nippy at night, especially along the river. And it was very nippy. Another tip I was given was to get some long socks and make them into gloves, these were very handy.
With it being the moonwalk you do not start walking until late in the evening, there are 5 different waves, number one wave starting at 10.30 (this is the one we were in), so make sure you fuel up during the day, I had a big breakfast before I left which was scrambled egg, avocado, wholemeal toast and cherry tomatoes. Lunch was a salad and some snacks of nuts and fruit, then around 5.30 I had soup and bread, when you arrive at Moonwalk site they give you food, you have a choice of pasta or rice. I had the rice and they also give you flapjack (which I saved for later in the night).
There were people clapping, cheering and some tears. Everyone marched off, there was no stopping anyone!!! We made our way onto the streets of London. To start with it felt normal just walking along the streets of London with a load of women and men in their costumes and Bras, there were so many of us that it did not feel any different to walking in London on a busy day. But it then became a bit more surreal, I looked around and there were no NORMAL PEOPLE (the only way I can describe it)!!! it was all moonwalkers, talking, singing, laughing, crying. I heard so many different snippets of conversations.
There was so much to see. Of course I had been to London before, but to see it all lit up and quiet (just moonwalkers) was surreal. There more miles we covered the thinner the crowds became. The marshalls were amazing, cheering us on and giving us a clap, a wave, a hello. The marshalls all volunteer and they are absolute stars, it was not a warm night, especially by the river and to stand there for a very long time, giving words of encouragement was amazing. They were all so happy.
As the night wore on and the more miles we covered I did not feel at all uncomfortable or tired. I was actually a bit buzzy!!! It was the middle of the night I wasn't in a pub or a club, I wasn't getting drunk but I felt like I was OUT OUT!!!! It was amazing to see the sights and see the occasional person/people spilling out of a club or on the party boats on the Thames. I wanted to say hi to everyone, I wanted to let everyone know what we were doing (Mary thought I was mad)!!!
There was so much to take in that I can't actually remember some of it, walking past Harrods at 3.30 am in the morning was weird. There were still cars on the road, and life on the streets with the walkers and the occasional "normal person" but to see Harrods when the streets are not bustling with tourists, shoppers etc was weird. It started to get lighter around 4.40 am. the dim light made everything look amazing. I do love this time of the morning when you know most people are in bed. We went through Sloane Square, Belgravia, Chelsea. I had never been to these parts of London before and OH MY I will be visiting them again (when I have lots of dosh!!!).
As we crossed the finish line at 6.15am and it was an odd feeling, the sparse crowds that were there waiting for loved ones seemed to be half asleep themselves (well who would blame them it was early). The fantastic
marshalls were there yet again cheering us on and giving us our medals congratulating us on our achievement. Mary and I hugged, we were dazed, tired but elated. Coffee was needed!!!!!
It was an amazing journey, one that I would do again. If anyone is thinking of doing it I would say "do it", it is an amazing experience. But make sure you train!!!
Top Ten Types of Training
Choosing a workout programme can sometimes be just as challenging as the exercise itself. With so many different names for classes and training methods, you might be hard pushed to decide which one suits you best, or even what they mean.
To cut out the jargon and to make life simple, I’ve put together a guide to the top ten training types, so you can decide for yourself which workouts suit you best!
As with all these things, always remember to work “within yourself” to avoid injury and eat well to complement your training.
1. Strength Training: Also called resistance training, this type of workout uses the resistance of your own bodyweight, resistance bands, free weights and weight machines. Strength training gives tone and definition to muscles and helps balance out your fat to muscle ratio; it improves posture and gives all-round conditioning. It can take time to build up your strength so it’s important to start lifting weights you are comfortable with. Exercises include dumbbell lifts, shoulder press, and tricep dips.
2. Aerobic Training: Anything that raises your heart rate is considered to be an aerobic exercise, so common examples would be running, swimming, dancing, and jumping. With your heart rate and breathing increased the cardiovascular system kicks in, and there are proven benefits to carrying out aerobic training for a sustained amount of time (typically more than 15 minutes), including a lowered risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. Most people can carry out some form of aerobic training, even if it’s just gentle walking.
3. Circuit Training (Boot Camp): Traditionally called circuit training, boot camps also follow the principal whereby strength and aerobic training is combined. Often there will be individual stations which require you to try different exercises, covering flexibility, dynamic strength and static strength. Jogging or running adds to the aerobic element, and often a class may last for up to an hour. A great choice for all round fitness, boot camps and circuit sessions typically include exercises like squats, shuttle runs, sit ups and burpees.
4. HIIT Training: The idea with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is that short bursts of high intensity physical exertion have the same, if not more benefits than more drawn out training plans. The strategy is to alternate short bursts of anaerobic exercise (where you workout so hard that you’re short of breath and lactic acid is produced in the muscles), with less intense recovery periods. Sessions can vary in time, from four-30 minutes and can improve athleticism. The regime can prove tricky for those who are less motivated and it’s been suggested that it’s not the best method for those who are starting out on their fitness journey, but more aimed at athletes and those with a high level of fitness.
5. Tabata Training: Tabata is a form of HiIT training, but is the time you work hard is reduced, with a total workout time of just four minutes. The idea behind it is that you work to capacity for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 and complete eight rounds of this. Due to the shorter time carrying out the exercises, this is favourable for many people over and above HiIT. You can apply Tabata training to almost any exercise, using squats, sprinting, lifting, press ups or kettlebells.
6. Plyometrics Training: Focussed on power-building, reaction time, explosiveness and coordination, plyometrics are essentially jumping, or “bouncing” exercises. Lateral jumps, high knees, forward jumping and double leg hops are some examples. This type of training should be done in conjunction with other sports.
7. Tempo Training: We all fall into our own comfort zone, and when you reach a certain level of fitness it’s easy to not push yourself. Tempo training requires you to maintain a pace that is just beyond your comfort zone so you increase your “lactate threshold” – the point at which the body tires. Try lifting slightly heavier weights, or running that little bit faster.
8. Fartlek Training: Yes, it’s an amusing name! But comedy aside, this training method is a great way to improve speed and endurance. The word fartlek literally means “speed play” in Swedish, so the idea is to have variations in your speed. You may start running slowly, then have a section of “moderate” running and then the next section will be fast, where you go all out. Then drop back to your moderate pace, and then drop again to slow. Continue this for your whole run.
9. Flexibility Training: Often overlooked, flexibility training includes all the exercises which involve stretching and lengthening the muscles. Perfect examples of this are Pilates and Yoga. Other exercises such as weight lifting, and many martial arts including kick boxing can cause the muscles to shorten and tighten, so these flexibility sessions are great to counteract that and ensure that injury is less likely.
10. Endurance Training: Taking your training to the next level is something that many people enjoy doing when they have reached certain fitness goals. As part of pushing ourselves we are often spurred on to run marathons, take part in triathlons or take our fitness to the next level. Endurance training involves building on your base fitness level, so gradually adding to your weights if lifting is your thing, or to increase your mileage if running is a passion. With endurance training you need to take into account your nutrition and also you need to think about recovery times to avoid injuries and stresses to the body.
Don’t forget to talk to me about any fitness goals you have, and check out my boot camp, personal training and Zumba sessions!
Increasingly we are becoming more aware of just how bad sugar is and the addictive hold it has on us. For a long time we were all led to believe that fat was the real issue in food, but it seems that sugar is the real bad guy. All too often it’s hidden in processed foods and condiments, tins and jars of sauces, and we don’t even think about what we’re eating.
I’m really keen to try and ditch the “ready-made” sauces that we add to our meals which contain a crazy amount of sugar. The latest news is that we should only be consuming one jar of “pasta sauce” each week – although in my opinion I think they are completely unnecessary.
It’s easy to make a simple tomato sauce from scratch that you can use as a base sauce for so many dishes, the good thing also is you can make up a huge batch and freeze it. All you need are tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, if you want to then make this into a pasta sauce add basil and oregano or add anchovies to get an extra depth of flavour.
Processed foods will make you feel sluggish, no matter what your body shape. Too much sugar will make you feel sluggish, make your skin and hair dull and have a negative effect on your mindset. What you put into your body affects your inner workings and if your inside is in turmoil, so will you be!
Try eating whole foods, or what is termed as “clean eating” which basically means eating food as it is in its natural state. Try and check labels and see how much sugar is added, it’ll open your eyes!
Sugar free ambassadors, such as Sarah Wilson of www.iquitsugar.com, Ella Woodward of www.deliciouslyella.com/ and Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley www.hemsleyandhemsley.com/ all have some great tips on starting out on your journey to cut down on sugar, and it’s all delicious food. So if you still don’t feel you have time to cook your own sauce from scratch, I’ll talk you through it with this easy recipe and in five minutes you’ll be done!
Easy Tomato Pasta Sauce
- Good glug of olive oil
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 5 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Add the oil to a heavy based saucepan and heat gently. Add to it the garlic and red onion and stir until softened. Add the tomatoes, puree, anchovy and any herbs, and gently bring to the boil. Boil vigorously for two minutes and then simmer until sauce has thickened.
Follow my Facebook Page, Nutty about Health and Fitness for more recipe ideas and nutrition tips.