What is your motivation?

I get asked this question quiet a lot, about once a week actually, and I love answering it because I am sure I know the answer.

The last week has been a tough one for me, tougher than normal anyway, because I have needed to ramp up my training for England’s strongest woman. I have a purpose and a goal that I have set my self. The deadline is fast approaching so I have chosen the path I need to follow. It is a less trodden path than the ones used by most others because it is the hardest, requires the most from me both physically and mentally, it is hard for my loved ones to watch, and is sure as shit hard on every one else because I have zero tolerance for anything and haven’t been all that nice.

The past week, I have pushed myself to do two high intensity training sessions a day. One is strength based – focusing on the events I will be doing on the day of competition – and the other a cardio and core strength circuit.

Anyone that has ever seen me train, knows that I push myself pretty hard most of the time and have quiet an intensity, but there has been a massive shift and I am 100% focused on the task in hand so every session I am pushing my limits and beyond. There have been times where I have wanted to stop, drop the weight and revert to what I normally do, but that is NOT going to get me on the podium! I have pushed hard, past anything I thought I was capable of. I have laid on the floor in pieces several times this week, and got back up and done another set. It was Friday morning when my body was totally f%&cked and couldn’t perform, much later in the week than I expected, so I was pretty pleased with my week, I was expecting it to be Wednesday.

Don’t get me wrong, I had days when I was sore and didn’t want to. I had back to back appointments in between my 2 sessions a day, so eating enough food was really tough and I had to rely on shakes and snacks to get me through – hence why I was a grumpy bitch the whole week.

But do you know what? It didn’t stop my tribe from supporting me, if anything they were cheering even louder, getting excited with me when I hit a new record, brought me food, made sure I had enough sleep, gave me attitude and banter back when I was getting gobby, trained with me, made me laugh, never questioned why I am doing it or asking if I am ok, just being with me.

I went to a yoga class on Thursday night that my friend teaches. Knowing I had been training hard, that morning I had hit 120kg on my squat – the most I have ever lifted – she knew I was worn out but also fully supports and understands why I am doing it. The class was gentle, I was invited to do all the stretches and movements I could manage and when we went into bug, I was stuck because my hips were so stiff, but rather than laugh at me, we laughed together and found a way I could manage and I felt great afterwards. Was it from the beautiful class, the stretches, the relaxation which was so good I woke my self up grunting, was it the love and support I was shown when I was feeling vulnerable or a mixture of all of these things? I will let you be the judge of that.

Yesterday, I was privileged and humbled to spend a day with 23 other women delivering presentations with two of the best humans I know, on how to set goals, have a plan and create a vision board to display and keep moving towards the end goal. It was a wonderfully relaxed day and I felt as though I was in a room full of friends that I was helping to get a little more focus in their lives. It was a pleasure to watch them work, answer their questions and, I can honestly say, was inspired and humbled watching their bravery to leap into the unknown. It really helped me to take pause and reflect on what drives and motivates me.

Last year was massive for me, I made the conscious decision to change all the elements of my life that were making me unhappy, which at the time was all of it. I put myself through challenges, and rose on every occasion. I had goals, and I smashed every one of them. There were a few curve balls thrown in to keep me guessing, but I smashed them out of the park too. I didn’t really pay much attention to it until yesterday when I was presenting how to do a bridge model and get from where you are now to where you want to be and it dawned on me, that I am in my ideal situation right now. I set my goals, followed the plan and now I am exactly where I wanted to be this time a year ago. So I am taking a step back from driving in all directions in my life and just focusing on one – training to win.

So to answer the question of what motivates me;

Knowing that people are watching me, loving me, supporting me and wanting me to have everything I want – these are things that motivate me.

When it is 5am and I am getting out of bed to start my day, knowing I will change other peoples lives that day – this motivates me.

Being excited about the future because it is the one I have chosen, because the now is exactly where I want to be – this motivates me.

Being confident and happy in this moment, the present and remembering what I have changed – Someone said to me that they were really proud of me and I have moved mountains in the time they have known me, I replied “I haven’t moved mountains, I have just moved the rubbish out of the way so I can see the view“. It is a beautiful view that I am really proud of – this motivates me

15 year old me would never have dreamed I would have got here, I do a lot of this for her – she motivates me the most!

Hormones, my opinion

Today was fun!!!

Imagine the scene……….

I am warming up by getting my hip mobility under way, doing some light weighted back squats. Got my favourite T-shirt on, good shorts with plenty of room, head phones on – because no one else needs to hear what I am listening to. I am in the zone. Feeling pumped.

I get under the bar, like I have done countless times before, lift off the rack, drop down into my squat and then as I am pushing up, BOOM, ut oh……. I seem to be falling backwards. So my inner voice starts screaming “wait……..stick your leg out, dont fall, do something” and the next thing I know I am basically side lunging my way out of a not very heavy squat.

I re-rack, shake my head and laugh for about a minute, look at myself in the mirror and add some more weight to either side and bang out a whole set stronger than ever.

I turn round once I finished the set to do my box jumps. Guess what……. yep, missed that too. Narrowly missing taking all the skin off both shins.

Honestly, I could have fallen over a piece of paper that day. I counted how many trips, falls and just general clumsy behaviour I encountered that day – 22 incidents of hurting myself in one way or another, when I remembered to count. There were probably a few others.

It would seem that not only was my balance and co-ordination completely off – normally I am solid as a rock – but my whole body felt alien to me. My boobs were swollen and sore, my head was in the clouds, I couldn’t concentrate for more than a minute on any given task, I had over 40 tabs open on all the screens I had available, I was unable to string a sentence together without the words becoming all jumbled.

Luckily for me, my clients found the funny side and I didn’t get too angry when I couldn’t walk from one end of the studio to the other without tripping over something.

But it started me thinking………

I know my body, I know that this weirdness is going to last about 48 hours and then I will go back to being a machine and everything will be great. The cravings I am having are because my body is just scanning itself to see if there are adjustments needed and sending my messages to make the appropriate changes to bring me back to homeostasis. It happens every month. Some are worse than others, depending on how much sleep I have had but the outcome is still the same. The cravings will pass, I will sleep and have weird dreams but I will be fine and my body will reset. But I am not sure that others know or understand how much ladies can be affected by our cycles and what to look out for, so I just wanted to share and explain that it isn’t always our fault and sometimes you cant help it.

But you also don’t need to be a hostage to your hormones. Use them to power your training, motivation, and logic. Some times you just want to scream and it makes no sense, but it is ok.
Sometimes you say things you don’t really mean, or you do mean them, you just say them in a horrible way. Sometimes you just want to cry all day long for no reason at all.

IT IS OK!! IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

Don’t you just hate it when people say things like “you on your period or something?” Well Sir, it is none of your business but I would really like to rip off your head and shit down your neck if you speak to me that way again. And just so you know, when I am angry it is normally a week before my period / lady time / monthly – what ever you want to call it. It is something we have to go through every month. I am sure I speak for most women out there that it is something that we really wouldn’t like to experience every few weeks but there we are.

Now then, things that I have learnt that help me through;
1. Take magnesium and folic acid supplements everyday – this helps to reduce cravings and craps
2. Track your cycle and mark down trends – like mood, hunger, sleep patterns so nothing is a surprise
3. Keep exercising – just remember there will be times where you are weaker and that is ok.
4. Brownies – home made warm keto chocolatey goodness for all those crazy cravings
5. Let it all out – cry, scream, eat, run, dead lift, sleep – do what ever you need to do. Don’t try and squash it down, it will just kick your arse harder.

You are not alone, you don’t need to suffer and it is totally ok to talk about it. We all have to go through it so we can at least share and understand one another a little better.

My 72 hour fasting journey

Last night, Wednesday, I got home from work via a body jam class, because lets face it, it is really fun! And ate the lunch that I had lovingly prepared the day before but stupidly left in the fridge. Oh it was divine. Sun dried tomatoes, vegan chicken pieces lightly fried in coconut oil with all the salad and M&S coleslaw, mmmmmmm delicious, and even more so because I had waited all day for it and I knew it would be the last thing I would eat until Saturday night, or maybe even Sunday if I feel daring enough.

Woke this morning feeling focused and totally ready to smash the shit out of the day. Had a coffee in my BOSS mug and de-iced the car. Headed to the studio to smash a shoulder session because it was the only part of me that wasn’t hurting. 20 minutes later I am hitting a PB on push press, 70kg!!

I rang that PB bell, such a sweet noise. The members and Coach Kate cheered. I felt great! Decided I was on a winner here today so loaded up the plates on the sled. First, 100kg – Easy, 150kg – Easy, 175kg – harder but still managed so we, Kate and I decided F%&K it – 200kg. All the swears and the slowest pull ever, but I did it. Almost 3 times my body weight. Thought my head was going to explode but felt great. Finished my work out had a shower and then the challenge of not eating post work out began.

Long day with 9 clients, 2 consults and potentially a yoga class if I can get there in time.

10.30 – 2 clients down. Tummy is rumbling and I am feeling hungry, but nothing I can’t handle. I am normally hungry this time of day anyway.

11.30 – Hunger has gone – YAY – but headache – BOO. Feeling a bit tired so upped my fluid intake.

Made it through to 3pm – feeling ok. Very tired but this is not unusual for me at this time of day. More water. Lots of wee

Ut oh – 5pm has come and gone. This is the time that I generally have a total melt down and brain fog, unable to concentrate or hold a conversation – not today. Feeling pretty epic if I am honest. Had a massive tummy rumble and I thought I was going to be in a world of trouble but had some water with a pinch of pink salt in and back on track. Head ache is all but gone. My training this morning has turned my body into one gigantic ache but I love it. Looking forward to going home and reading my book.

Day 2

Had a massive sleep last night, only woke once in the night, which is unheard of for me, and guess what, it was so I could have a wee. All the wee, it is great.

Anyway, feeling pretty good and had another training session this morning. Nothing super human but a good maintenance session going through the motions and feeling ok. Not totally drained but aware that I haven’t eaten for almost 36 hours. Time will tell.

Going to have a float today – the magnesium salts and sensory deprivation should really help me focus over the next day or too.

Mood is pretty even, which is surprising as I am hangry most of the time.

Had a float – always a pleasure and a delightful experience. Had the best dreams where I was coaching a Kettle Bell exercise and ended up waking myself up because I had flung my arm in the air and made myself laugh – wally. Felt hungry after the float but mood is great and focus is really good, will up my fluid intake to try and stop me killing someone

6.30pm – I feel like my insides are turning round and round full of rocks. I am really struggling this time round and have wanted to cave in with food lots of times. But I haven’t!! So far

My evening pretty much carried on this way, felling hungry and a little bit snappy. I think this time round I have continued to work really hard, delivering a lot of sessions, meetings daily, training like an animal hitting huge lifts and it has been too much. Normal people rest when they fast.

Day 3

There is only 1 word to sum up this day – SHIT!

Woke up feeling ok, had a couple of coffees and got some work done but feeling drained and crap would be an understatement but it is serving a purpose so just getting it done.

My training was awful today, could barely even lift Deadlift for 5 reps so I got in a right strop and lay on the floor. Couldn’t even manage to walk in a straight line, had a head ache all day and was dizzy for most of the time. All the other times I have fasted, it has never been this bad. I have always found day 3 to be the best day with loads of energy and buzzing. Today was a slog it was hard and I did not like it at all.

I broke fast with a delicious salad and then some keto brownies. Remind me one day to tell you about the poo, but that is not for this day, that requires prep and a strong soul.

If you want to learn more about why I did this, the results and details then please get in touch.

If you want to try, I can help.


New Year, New me???? BULL SHIT!

So, it has come to the end of yet another year. 2018 is almost at an end, and what have we learnt form it?

Personally, I have had a massive year in regards to growth, both personally and professionally, but more importantly spiritually.

This year has taught me many a lesson, and now on the 28th day of the 12th month it seems like the perfect time to reflect up on these lessons. It could be the wine talking, but for that to stand up in court, you would need to prove that I have had any such nonsense.

Lesson 1

You know yourself better than you think

It is ok to trust your instinct. That feeling of unease, mistrust or something just isn’t sitting perfectly. Listen to this – for the majority of the time it is right and these feelings come from deep within and you MUST listen. They are an early warning to something much more dangerous lurking just around the corner. Paying attention may actually save your life and those nearest to you, you can stop them from being tangled in the web that is just beneath your every step if you listen and pay attention.

Lesson 2

Be ok with being uncomfortable

Just the other side of being truly terrified is the most beautiful, painstaking, wonderful adventure waiting for you to grab it with both hands. If you can handle the shit, by handle I mean not be admitted to the local nuthouse or become and alcoholic, the view is truly spectacular. Now without going into too much detail, because frankly it is boring, I can sit on my bean bag of orangeness with my head held high and say that I have dealt with about 3 lifetimes worth of grief in the past 18 months.

How did I do this?

By literally putting one foot in front of the other, saying yes to all the things and being in the moment when it really mattered. For Example; Taking part in a beautiful relaxation class, which involved laying comfortably on the floor with all the blankets and my teddy. Having a wonderful human guide you through a thought process to get you to a safe place and then completely falling to pieces, snot bubbles, the works and another beautiful soul sitting with you holding a box of tissues telling you to stop being a dick. The perfect balance of love and arsekickery

Lesson 3

You are good enough and you do deserve to be ok, in fact you inspire people everyday so you better keep it up!t

I don’t really think I need to embellish this lesson much more but just in case you didn’t see it first time around; YOU, yes you there, right there looking at the screen. You ARE good enough! Some one, or maybe more than one, thinks the absolute world of you. They may not be close all of the time but they are there, being a cheer leader for all that you believe in and want nothing but the best for you. They wait with baited breath to hear of the next adventure you are going to embark on, or opinion you have on a subject they want to learn about and your words encourage them to take the steps to learn. DO NOT be affraid to speak and follow what you believe in, what starts as a ripple soon turns to an army and you can start to see the difference you are making to lives, actual lives. So get up, be yourself, and remember that you are never alone. You inspire me!

Lesson 4

You make the rules!

Too many years are spent being with the wrong person, in the wrong the job, not doing the thing that makes you happy.

NEWSFLASH

You don’t get points for pleasing everyone else and wishing that you had just taken that leap. Or for living the life that someone else told you you should. Pardon my French but Fuck that! It is your life, you have but one chance to have all that you want and to try all the things. Just because someone that you hold in high regard has the opposite opinion to you, that doesn’t mean they are right. Write history well and make sure there are no gaps that could have been filled with – I am so glad I did rather than I wish I had.

You have been given a precious gift of walking this Earth for another day, why are you allowing other people to dictate to you? If you are alone and can look in the mirror and be proud, that is all that matters. Only you have walked in your shoes, they don’t fit anyone else comfortably, just like someone else’s wouldn’t fit you or look any where near as good on you. You only need to play with in the boundaries you have set yourself and as long as you are happy, it really doesn’t matter hat anyone else thinks.

Lesson 5

You aren’t getting out of this alive or in pristine condition so you may as well have all the fun and laughter you can fit in and expect nothing in return.

I don’t want to preach but the more you laugh and the more fun you have, the easier the hard stuff is to deal with, so try and get those that make you laugh as close as possible. Feeling love, being in love, giving love and expecting nothing in return is by far the most wonderful part of being a human.

Holding someone’s hand, sitting beside them and letting them be in the moment with you and then rolling about on the floor laughing because they snorted while trying to tell you something – that is what it is about. We all have darkness within us, I have a time share there in fact, but it is only worth a visit. The light that we can pass to others is far more precious and lifechanging if we just take a moment to smile and learn the lesson we are being taught. And if nothing else, it passes pretty dam quickly so be ready for the next bit because if you aren’t you are missing out.

I am sure that this made sense at some point and wasn’t meant to be such a rant but there we go.

My point is – life is precious and short so live hard, love hard and give it your all because we don’t get second chances very often.


Never underestimate the power of rest

Up until about 3 years ago, I lived my life as fast and furious as I can handle with the moto, I can sleep when I am dead.

What a twat! How foolish can you be? The naivety of youth, or was it just sheer arrogance that I could keep going at a thousand miles an hour and expect to not break down at some point?

The 34-year-old me, that is today’s age, would love to go back to 21-year-old me and give her the biggest back hand bitch slap of all time and then lock her in the house so that she takes a break from the craziness that is life. Now I know you can’t stop the world from spinning and you make the choices you make to follow your career, have babies, buy a house, have holidays or what ever it is that drives you. But we, as humans, never rota in down time for ourselves to recover from the madness that is around us.

So, what is my point? We all take life very seriously and try to fit as much in to 24 hours as we possibly can, burning the candle at both ends and then crashing once or twice a year with an illness. This doesn’t have to be the case, we can break this vicious cycle if we pay attention to what our bodies tell us.

I REALLY SHOULD LEARN TO TAKE MY OWN ADVICE

Most of my time is spent coaching people, from all different walks of life and different fitness levels but there is a very common trend – they break if I do not take the necessary steps to make rest a priority. I have heard all the excuses under the sun and probably used them myself at one point or another. I am lucky enough to see most of my client’s multiple times in a week for a number of weeks at a time, so we get to know each other really well and I get to know their bodies and read the signs of fatigue. Yes, I know that to achieve goals we need to push boundaries and one of the principles of fitness is overload, but this comes at a huge cost if it is all you focus on. As a coach, I want to push your skill set, push your cardio output and lung capacity, challenge you at every opportunity but I have a duty of care to make sure that your body and mind are given time to heal.

Why? Well it’s simple really. Our bodies are, in their most basic form, a forever changing, growing living organism. We only have 1 and it is almost impossible to get spare parts if they break. We need to take care of what we have if we want to live well and give our children, grand children and great grandchildren grief for a long time.

Could you imagine having only 1 car your entire lifetime? No, of course not, that would be silly because parts get worn out, break, need to be replaced, or you may even be unfortunate enough to right it off, yet most people take more care of their cars than they do their own bodies. In essence, this is the most stupid thing that you can possibly do. I hold up my hands and say that I was very guilty of doing just this, but I learnt a very hard lesson and now I am reaping the benefits from taking a little more care and working smarter rather than harder.

I have committed at least one day a week to only dynamic stretches and slow mobility, I also include a selection in every work out that I do. And the results have been incredible. My body is much more responsive, building muscle has become easier, injuries have reduced, and my mind is much more focused on the skills I am trying to learn. I have also committed to going to bed at a decent hour, spending less time thinking things through in my head at night time – instead I do a brain dump into a little book I keep beside my bed and I am waking up feeling refreshed rather than tight and sore.

Now the definition of rest is different from person to person. Some consider it to be lounging around in bed sleeping all day, others consider it to be an active day, just with a much lower intensity than usual. Google defines rest as:

1: a bodily state characterised by minimal functional and metabolic activities.

2: freedom from activity or labour

3: a state of motionlessness or inactivity

4: peace of mind or spirit.

What ever your definition, it is important to schedule it in to your daily, weekly and monthly plans. As a coach, I try to include 1 session every 5 to 6 weeks that is much lower intensity and focuses and stretching and mobility. It is really important to have de-load sessions to allow your muscles, tendons, ligaments, heart and lungs time to recover. If you are smart about when you have your rest times, it will bring you to your goals quicker and hopefully take you further than you thought you could go without injury. But it also goes further than in training, it carries over into everyday life and helps your mind recover and refocus for the next tasks.

Why do you think employers have to make sure we have breaks in our day? This time should be spent away from your work station and should include an activity change. To me, this means doing something different to what you do while at work. So, if you sit at a desk, then your break should be spent doing other things like walking, stretching, moving. If you work in an office or inside, then get your butt outside to see the sky and breathe fresh air.

My challenge to all of you: Take 30 minutes a day to “rest”, one day a week to focus on a stretch/mobility session and one day a month to be completely at rest – literally do not move from your sofa. You will be surprised with the results and how you can handle life after wards.

If you would like to learn more about how to schedule more rest into your life please contact me to get an appointment booked in at you earliest convinence

amy@mgbfitness.com

Or take a look at some of the videos on my Freedom Therapy page on Facebook

LOTS OF LOVE