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Listen to your body.

I spend a lot of time lifting weights and working out. For a long time I wanted to spend every minute I had spare in the gym working out and I started to neglect all of the other things that contribute towards a good weightlifting session and good overall fitness.

I got to a point where I was working out 6 days a week, not giving my body time to rest and rebuild, not giving my muscles time to recover and not getting good quality sleep. Even though I was only having one rest day a week I hated it I didn’t want a rest today I wanted to be in the gym working on my body. If I knew I only had 90 minutes to spend in the gym I didn’t want to waste time stretching or working on mobility I wanted to spend that full time lifting weights, so I would have a quick 2 minute stretch before each workout and that’s all. My workouts were getting longer and longer and I was doing more and more sessions and less and less of the other stuff.. the ‘boring’ stuff AKA. the IMPORTANT stuff.

That was last year and since then I have learnt so much about myself. I have learnt to really listen to my body and work with it instead of against it. I got so caught up for a while in what other people were doing and started to lose sight of what works for me. It’s easy when you spend so much time on social media to see how these beautiful people are training and you want to look like that so you start to train like that to. Seeing somebody posting their training routines, training splits, how often they train, their macros etc and thinking well if it works for her/him it will work for me. This is so far from the truth and I learnt the hard way.

When I started to realise this for myself and realise how my health was being affected and how unhappy I was I made a lot of big changes to my eating and training. I now weight train 4 days a week and I actually really enjoy my rest days now instead of worrying that I shouldn’t be resting and should be in the gym. I have also reduced my weightlifting sessions to 60 minutes max.

Since cutting back on the weight sessions I have been using the extra time I have to work on my mobility & flexibility. I do yoga at least twice a week which really helps with my flexibility and I also make sure to get a good long stretch in before each workout. I bought a foam roller and some resistance bands and make sure to spend a good amount of time each week rolling out those tight areas and doing mobility exercises at home. I also now know when it’s time to REST. I’m all about pushing my limits and going all out in the gym and working my ass off, but now I know when to listen to my body and skip the gym and go for a walk or yoga instead. Sometimes that is exactly what we need. In the past this would have never been an option for me, now I can easily do this without feeling guilty like I used to.

It’s amazing what our bodies can do when we just listen to them. In my head I thought if I trained less days a week and cut down the amount of exercises I was doing per workout FOR SURE this must mean I would not make progress / lose gains / jump up weights slower and I was so wrong. Since training less days a week and working more on getting enough rest, working on my flexibility and mobility etc I have made sooooo much more progress than I was ever making before. I am making serious progress whilst still being happy with my training, getting a good sleep in and managing to actually have a life outside of the gym. I am getting so much stronger and all of the strength goals I had set myself this year I have smashed and surpassed more than I could have imagined. My cut went really well this time round even with a few diet breaks along the way and I am delighted with the result.

I guess what I am trying to say is just listen to your body. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. We are all unique so we all need to train according to our own needs and who knows your body better than yourself? It’s fantastic to get training tips and ideas off instagram/facebook or off friends but what works for one person might not necessarily be for you so just remember that. Also I hate to say it but a lot of what we see on social media is just not the reality of it, so try not to get to wrapped up in ‘well if she trains like this and she’s in amazing shape then I’m going to train like that too’.

Do your research, experiment a bit, listen to your body & TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!

Love and Light x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended Podcasts.

Since I started video logging throughout the day I have been mentioning what podcasts I have been listening to and have had so many people messaging me directly to ask what podcasts I would recommend so I thought I would write a post with my favourite podcasts.

I listen to podcasts all day every day, when i’m getting ready, while i’m travelling to and from work, when i’m in the gym, when i’m writing for my blog, when i’m cleaning, basically as much as I possibly can. I think podcasts are such a great way to get new information, I love to be always learning about new things, always hearing different opinions, always expanding my knowledge on any subjects that interest me. Sometimes in today’s busy life it can be hard to sit down and read endless books on subjects that interest you but with podcasts you can listen to up to date discussions from experts in the industry while you go about your day to day business. This is why I love to listen to fitness and nutrition based podcasts to gain as much knowledge as possible. Of course it can’t always be learning all the time we’ve got to have that bit of laughter to, which is why I also have a few podcasts from comedians which I regularly listen to just for those real big belly laughs.

Here are a list of my favourite podcasts at the moment. I’m always chopping and changing what I listen to and these ones below are in no particular order, these are just the podcasts that I am currently listening to at the moment. There’s a good mixture in there so I’m sure there will be something for everyone!  Also if anybody has any podcast suggestions for me I am all ears I’d love to find some new ones so drop me a message if you know of any you think I might benefit from.

  1. Joe Rogan Experience – Definitely my favourite podcast at the moment, mainly because he has such a wide variety of different guests on the show and it is so regular that there is always something new and interesting to listen to. He always has guests on talking in depth about different areas of fitness and nutrition, psychedelics, spirituality, sports and so much more.
  2. Found My Fitness, Dr Rhonda Patrick – Nutrition and how it affects our health is one of my biggest interests. Dr Rhonda Patrick lays down the facts on her podcast with the ins and outs of nutrition and how it affects our health, diseases, cancer, ageing, basically how nutrition is the key to everything. She also talks a lot about different supplements/products/fasting techniques/fads etc to give the low down on each one and her educated opinion on them.
  3. Danny Lennon, Sigma Nutrition – All things fitness related, training and nutrition wise. Danny Lennon has guests who discuss at length different topics in relation to fat loss, physique athletes, competitive cutting, cutting for women, fat loss plateaus and so much more. For anyone interested in fitness and more specifically bodybuilding this is a great one to listen to.
  4. The Ricky Gervais Show – Now this one is purely for the laughs. We’ve all heard of Karl Pilkington An Idiot Abroad, right? Well rewind to how Ricky & Steve met Karl Pilkington was when Karl was producing their radio show XFM. They thought he was that hilarious that they decided to start a podcast just the 3 of them, that’s when The Ricky Gervais Show was born. No matter how many times I have listened to every single one of these I still laugh my head off so much every time, it never gets old.
  5. Duncan Trussell Family Hour – A mixture between the most fascinating of topics and rambles of randomness. Duncan is such a fascinating guy and he always talks about deeply spiritual subjects. His views on psychedelics, virtual reality and different dimensions are just a few of the reasons I love to listen to his podcast, also for the laughs of course.
  6. Skeptic Tank, Ari Shaffir – Ari is a regular guest on The Joe Rogan Experience which is how I got listening to his podcast. Such an interesting character and a little ‘out there’ as well as a good joker his podcast is always a good listen.
  7. The Church of Whats Happening Now, Joey Diaz – Another regular on The Joe Rogan Experience, Joey Diaz is absolutely hilarious and man has he lived a crazy life! Any and all of his stories have me rolling on the floor laughing, mostly just because of the animated and fiery way in which he tells them. Always a good listen and it always has me in knots laughing, listen to one podcast and you will see exactly what I mean by his story telling.
  8. The True Geordie Podcast – The main reason I listen to this podcast is because hearing a Geordie accent just gives me that familiar ‘home’ comfort feeling. But the guys on this podcast always cover up to date and interesting topics and of course the magpies regularly crop up and football in general, Geordies through and through.

 

Supplements for cutting.

I’ve had people asking me what supplements i use for cutting weight so i thought i would write a new blog post about it.

These are the supplements that i personally am using at the moment to fit my dietary needs and fitness goals, which of course can be different for everyone. So just because i am using them doesn’t mean you should go out and buy all of the same ones, do a little research first and see which ones also fit your needs.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that supplements are exactly that.. SUPPLEMENTS! Your not going to magically get lean or magically gain muscle or magically correct an unhealthy diet. What they are there for is to SUPPLEMENT an already healthy lifestyle and on point training regime. Always always always make sure your training and diet are up to scratch before going out and buying supplements otherwise your just wasting your money.

Supplements i am taking for cutting are listed below, this is just a very brief overview and reasons why i take these supplements.. i strongly recommend anyone reading to do their own research on each and every supplement before taking them to see if it is suitable for their needs.

1. CLA

– Assists in fat burning and muscle retention, lowers insulin resistance, drives glucose more effectively into the muscle.

2. Alpha Lipoic Acid

– More effective carbohydrate metabolism and helps remove toxins from the body.

3. BCAA

– Increase protein synthesis and aid in muscle retention.

4. L Glutamine

– Increase protein synthesis, aid in muscle retention and to quickly restore glutamine levels after intense exercise.

5. Taurine

– Helps with hydration -> muscles retain more water -> muscles look fuller

6. Chromium Picolinate

– Enhances glucose uptake and insulin efficiency within the body resulting in more regulated blood sugar levels. Increased energy and fat burning.

7. Potassium

– Gotta replace those electrolytes when your drinking a few gallons of water ever day.

8. Cod liver oil

– Antioxidant & anti inflammatory properties which help aid in recovery after exercise.

9. Multivitamin

– I always take an all rounder, just incase i am missing anything!

Walking for weightloss.

Since starting my cut my weight training has stayed exactly the same. I am still training 4 days a week and with the same amount of volume as i was when bulking.

I am still on a decent amount of calories at 2000 cals a day and as of yet have saw no need to reduce my calories any further.

In total during my cut i have done 3 sessions of HIIT cardio and that was only because i was pushed for time and wanted to get some very quick cardio in.

So how have i been adapting my diet & training to push past fat loss plateues and continuing to lose over 1lb a week? Walking more.

I think a lot of people are under the impression that if your not absolutely dripping in sweat and out of breath then your not burning fat. However walking is a form of LISS cardio and an underrated one at that.

I am a big hater of cardio in the gym i just can’t motivate myself to do it i get so bored and especially after lifting weights i can’t bring myself to do even 10 minutes on the treadmill or stepper. So for my cardio? I walk to the gym, i walk home from the gym, i walk to the train station for work instead of getting the bus & i do the same on the way home. All in all i walk about 15km a day. This is the only form of cardio i do, if i need more cardio in i just walk more.

When it’s winter and i am bulking and it’s freezing out i will definitely be getting the bus again but right now it’s summer and i am trying to burn fat so walking everywhere instead of getting the bus is definitely working for me and it is actually enjoyable and pleasant. It saves me a fortune in busfares, i don’t feel all sweaty and worn out after and i don’t have to take extra time out of my day to do it, infact if you live in Dublin like me you will know its actually faster to walk than get the bus in the mornings with all of that traffic! I also find that by walking to the dart to get to work in the morning instead of getting the bus i actually arrive at work in a much better mood amd feeling really good, it’s such a great way to start the day.

Now if your very overweight or have a lot of fat to lose you might want to opt for a more intensive form of cardio, but it won’t hurt you to add in some walking as well. For me personally who already has a lower bodyfat and is trying to get leaner, walking along with a caloric deficit and regular weight training sessions has been more than enough for me to lose between 1-2lbs a week. I guess i’m just trying to show that switching the bus for a walk, or walking the longer route home really does make a difference. Plus it’s great to have time to listen to music and podcasts whilst walking and getting some fresh air right?

Diet break.

If you read my last post you will know i planned on taking a 4 day break from dieting and the gym while i was on holidays from work for a few days while my Dad visiting me.

My plan was to try and keep on track with maintenance calories instead of in a defecit, but not worry so much about them or my macros so that i could go out and enjoy my meals without having to put to much thought into it.

It’s hard to count your calories when eating out for every meal but when you have been weighing your meals and counting macros for so long it gets easier to ‘eyeball’ your meals and get a general idea of how many calories are on your plate. So this is pretty much what i did for 4 days.

I’m sure i wen’t over my maintenance calories but i didn’t go overboard and totally pig out. However all in all the moto of my weekend was definitely ‘treat yo-self’. Burgers upon burgers upon burgers is all i’m sayin’.

The diet i have been using for cutting is mostly very low carbs, apart from a few higher carb days but even then my carbs are still quite low. Last weekend i ate ALL THE CARBS and have absolutely no regrets because they were amazing.

One thing which i was anticipating about being on a low carb diet and then suddenly eating so many carbs is that for every 1 gram of carbs we digest, our body will store 4 grams of water. So going from feeling like a lean bean to feeling extra fluffy was anticipated but still not welcome. I didn’t worry about that though as like i said i knew that this would happen and i also am aware that a lot of this ‘feeling fluffy’ was a mental thing because i knew i hadn’t been eating clean for a few days i was extra picky.

Tuesday morning i was straight back on track to my regular diet and workouts and i was feeling great. I very rarely take time out from the gym or counting macros so it was nice to have just a few days without that. But thats just it, it was nice FOR A FEW DAYS. Tuesday morning i was ready to rock n roll and dying to get back in the gym and meal prep.

I weighed myself on Thursday before my diet break and weighed myself on Tuesday after and all in all i only gained 4lbs, i was expecting more because of all the carbs i was eating so i was happy with only 4lbs. Most of this will just be water retention so it will only take me a few days to even things back out.

So was it worth taking a 4 day diet break? Absolutely! It was so nice to just enjoy myself without worrying about macros etc for a few days and we had some really amazing and not so healthy food. It won’t take me long to shift the water retention and get my weight back to what it was and to be honest it’s Friday when i’m writing this and my body looks just as lean as it did last week before my diet break and i have already dropped 2 of those 4lbs so no harm done. I also felt extra strong in the gym after a break and carbs and smashed two new PBs. Also my mood is definitely a lot better after a few days break mentally. All round goodness!

This just shows that you can still stay on track and lose weight whilst enjoying yourself. Yes the gym is very important and i for one revolve my life around my gym and eating habits, however what is also important is enjoying yourself and taking care of yourself and learning to allow yourself little breaks now and again. I have always been extremely hard on myself so this kind of thing is definitely a learning curve for me but i have to say i am enjoying the whole self care thing, i have noticed that since i stopped being so hard on myself and started allowing myself a little leeway now and again i have actually started getting better results.

I guess this is what it feels like to have balance.

 

Balance.

Yayy so my holidays from work start tomorrow. My Dads coming over from Spain to stay with me for a few days, i can’t wait to just chill and go on an adventure around Ireland and eat loads of food.

I decided that while i’m off work and my Dads here i’m going to have a bit of a diet break so i can enjoy myself without having to worry about counting macros etc when i’m going out for meals. I’m not going to go on a mad one and binge as i don’t wanna undo all of my hard work so far so still gonna keep an eye on my calories and make sure i don’t go overboard, but definitely not going to be counting all of my macros or being as strict as i usually am. It’s all about finding balance. Balance between eating healthy and also enjoying foods you like. Balance between the gym and knowing when to rest. Balance between being strict and disciplined and also allowing yourself some leeway to enjoy yourself.

Instead of cutting weight i’m just gonna be focusing on maintaining my current shape/weight over the next few days whilst enjoying myself and spending some much needed quality time with my Dad.

Now pass me a burger !

Steps to self care.

I’ve been keep setting time to write another post this past two weeks but every time i get around to it i keep saying actually i’m gonna do some yoga, or actually i’m gonna read a book or go for a walk and have some me time. It’s about time i practiced a little self care.

Thats when i thought that would be perfect for me to write a post about.. self care. It’s something that never came naturally to me and i was never really aware of it being an issue until last year. I was always taught to put other peoples needs and care ahead of my own and that my needs should come last. I always felt like i had to be doing something productive like at the gym, writing, working, studying, always on the go but never really taking time for me. It wasn’t until i ran myself deep into the ground and ended up in counselling due to depression and anxiety that i realised sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.

I don’t usually make new years resolutions but i did this year, it was to take more time to do things that make ME happy and to not be so hard on my self. Learn to relax, you know?

I’m happy to say i have stuck to this resolution and theres definitely no going back now i have realised how important it is. Self care is not some big fancy thing, it is lots of small things. Most people practice self care anyway, but for some of us it is not something we were ever taught or learned how to do.

I remember sitting in counselling last year and shes asking me ”when was the last time you ever just went home from work climbed in to bed and watched a movie Kirsty?” My answer? I don’t watch movies i don’t have time for that, i don’t get home till 10pm each night after work and the gym and my walk and then i have to do this this and this, i haven’t watched a movie in years. To me this sounded completely normal. It wasn’t until she sat and made me realise that this wasn’t a healthy way to live and that it’s ok to just chill sometimes that i started learning self care.

Now i’m going to give you a list of ideas to practice self care. I actually compiled a list last year when i was in a bad place, of things i could do when i needed comforting or needed me time or was feeling bad, so these are a few things from that list. For a lot of people reading they might laugh at some of these such as ‘wash your hair’ or ‘take a shower’ and think thats not self care thats just basic human hygeine you should be doing that anyway. Your right, but don’t ever laugh. Because sometimes when people are really suffering we can be so far inside our thoughts and so overwhelmed just from getting out of bed in the morning that we might forget to do these things, or even worse we just don’t care anymore. I personally have been in that place and by writing a list and looking at it on days when i was so depressed i couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed i managed to somehow keep myself going and look after and comfort myself.

It’s kind of hard for me writing this as i am in such a good place in my life right now that rememberong back to being at rock bottom last year and times when i couldn’t even bring myself to shower or tidy my room is very scarey and painful to remember. But in another way it makes me feel strong to know that i somehow got through that and have come full circle. The battle is definitely not over but i won this fight and thats what i’m going to hold on to.

Heres just a few things from my list, if anyone else has any good ones to add feel free to comment or leave a message !

1. Have a shower, wash your hair.

2. Wash and iron some clothes and pick out a nice outfit.

3. Put some make up on and style your hair, make a little bit of effort today.

4. Cook yourself a nice meal. Who cares if its only for one? Your special so make something special!

5. Have a nice hot bath with some bath salts and bubbles, put some music on in there and just chill.

6. Go for a walk in nature, walking has been proven to boost endorphins and nature has such a calming effect.

7. Talk to somebody you trust. If you don’t trust anybody? Talk to a counsellor. It’s hard to take that first step but remember counsellors are fixers at heart, thats why they pursued this profession. It helps i promise.

8. Write a journal. Ok so if you insist on not talking about it (i know i did for a long time), write. You need to get it out somehow so just keep on writing until the headache stops and the thoughts slow down, even if that means writing every day for months and months, just get it all out.

9. Make a hot chocolate, wrap yourself up in the duvet like a burrito, hold on to your favourite squishy and watch a movie. I recommend disney movies, it’s nice to feel like a child for a while, i know i definitely grew up to fast i missed a lot of that.

10. Yoga. Yoga. Yoga. Need i say more ?

11. Watch funny videos and have a real belly laugh. I would recommend funny animal videos, even better right?

12. Spend time with some animals. If you have a dog take it on a long walk or play with it. If you have a cat just play with it or let it lie on your lap and stroke him. Animals make me so happy just to be around. I actually joined the dogs trust last year to walk their dogs since i don’t have one of my own and had so much fun meeting and walking all of the dogs there so if you don’t have your own you could always try that.

13. Tidy your house / room. Doesn’t sound very fun i know, but a cluttered house is a cluttered mind and doesn’t it feel great to climb into clean fresh sheets after tidying and cleaning everywhere spotless?

14. Read a book. Maybe even read that book from your childhood that you used to get lost in amd take yourself back to that for a short while. (We’re all thinking Harry Potter here).

15. Sing and dance. Put some music on, turn the volume up full, open the windows and curtains to let some light and air in.. now shake your booty and sing your heart out into a hairbrush as if your 12 again.

16. Date yourself. Take yourself out and treat yourself. Buy yourself flowers or those expensive chocolates or wine. Get dressed up nice and take yourself that place you’ve been wanting to go but never got around to.

17. Smile. Just for the sake of it, smile at everybody you walk past today and watch them smile back. Smile while your walking or sitting on the bus or waiting in line. Just smile.

18. Turn your phone off for a few hours. Ignore everybody else and just focus on you. You can get back to them later, if it was very urgent they know where to find you.

19. Exercise. I know for me i exercise 4-5 days a week anyway but for some people who don’t exercise as regularly or sometimes struggle to this is a great one to have on the list. Getting to the gym can be a struggle but nobody ever feels bad about themselves after a workout. Even a short exercise can boost endorphins and boost our motivation and self esteem.

20. Plan a trip or an event. Book a little spa day or weekend, book that concert you were thinking of going to, that play, that festival. Whatever it is just do it, you deserve it.