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10 weird things I didn't expect to happen when I started lifting.

A whole new world of surprises.
I have some lovely friends, outside of "fitness people", who often seem perplexed with my love of lifting. I also have a lot of lovely friends who also love lifting, so I don't have to bore the former.

But one thing I have noticed from the non-lifters, is that they often see the gym as a place of drudgery, some kind of punishment for excess or desperate attempt to ward off the horrors of aging unfit.

When I worked in a gym, there was a member who turned up 3 times a week to train, and hated every second, but did it because she was worried about losing muscle and bone mass post-menopause. I always had an immense respect for her. Not many people would turn up religiously to spend an hour doing things they hated for the sake of their health.

That's not why I do it. I strongly adhere to the tenant of doing the exercise you love, and I really do love heavy strength training. That in itself was a bit of a surprise to me, a chronically ill b…
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Eating healthy on the cheap

I was going through some of the awesome lesson content in the Precision Nutrition Curriculum last week, and a quote stood out:

"There's no such thing as cheap food"

Now, I am a super bargain hunter and thrift fiend and while I agree with the sentiment, I also know how to feed a family of 4, well, on a limited budget.

There's a lot of tricks to it, but one of my favourites is knowing how to work with my local stores and their clearance shelves.

Almost every store marks down their produce as it approaches its sell-by date. You can grab some amazing bargains if you know when, where and what to shop for. It's brilliant if...
You are going to eat the food todayYou can freeze the foodYou choose the sorts of food that actually stays good after the use-by date. It's common where I am for stores to use a yellow barcode sticker to denote near-date reductions (though some have red....) so I refer to these foods as yellow sticker of value (that link will take you to my In…

Pushing the limits... and learning more about your real potential

"I can't do that"
"My best is...."
"I can't live with/without..."
How often do we say things like this to ourselves? How often are we really sure it's true?
When I am coaching, I work with clients on developing a "growth mindset", which is a fancy psychology way of essentially being a little bit more open to your own possibilities.
"I can't do that... yet"
"this is the best I can, but I could change that"

And it's fun and useful to talk about, but what I like even more, is seeing it in action. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how our little slip ups can give us real insight to work with. Today I want to talk about what happens when we take ourselves to the edge of failure, on purpose.
Gym revelations - or how I totally broke my RPE meter.
For the last few weeks I have had Ryan at Project Barbell coaching me for powerlifting (he's a great coach, go check him out).
At the end of this short …

Have you fallen off the New Year wagon yet?

Have you broken your gym streak?

Dry January suddenly got damp?

Blown the diet?

Then let me be the first to congratulate you.
Seriously. Well done. You tried something out, then you discovered something that stops it from working out. You are a pioneer of resolutions, an experimental scientist of life itself. Good job!

I love it when my coaching clients have a "wobble". When something gets too hard, or they find they can't meet a goal they expected they could handle. It suddenly makes my job so much easier.

It's a fabulous learning opportunity, there's no shame in that.

Failure, is the process of growth revealing itself. It's great to set ourselves goals that we know we can reach. Most of the goals we set are based on the agreement between myself and the client that we believe they are going to achieve it with 90% certainty. I do that because achieving feels good, and it keeps the rock rolling as they nail more and more goals, week on week.

But when it suddenl…

Wishing you a Bigger, Better New Year

This is a tricky time of year in fitness.
It's kind of the best time, because suddenly everyone is very interested in what "fitness people" like me are up to.

Many people are making a new start, figuring out what they need to do to be healthier in the coming year.

Also Aldi and Lidl have what I like to call "Personal Trainer Christmas" where they suddenly have a tonne of low priced fitness equipment on the shelves. That's my favourite (do I really need another foam roller? Sure I do!).

But it all comes from a very harsh place.

For the last couple of months we have been bombarded with advertising telling us we need to buy and eat more rich food. Conform to the cultural norm of well, conforming to the sofa and none of it in moderation.

Now, the tables turn. What? You actually DID the eating and the movie-watching and you ACTUALLY overindulged? But now your body is unacceptable!

Of course all year around we are subjected to the message that our bodies are wro…

How to set resolutions you can stick to this New Year

It's that time of year when people start to think about how they want their future to look.

Do you have any New Year resolutions?
Setting yourself new goals and aspirations is a great way to start making positive changes in your life.

But are you falling into the trap?

A lot of people start out their year with sincere and heartfelt goals, but struggle to keep up with them.

Then they stop working at it, don't reach the goal and feel bad. They couldn't do The Thing. They will never reach The Goal. They feel like they have failed.

This year, you will not fall into The Trap, because I'm here to help.

Your 3 step guide to great resolutions 1. Set an achievable goal
Be realistic. Is is something that is physically possible? Will it require changes or resources that you are ready, willing and able to action?

Let's have a look at some examples. Let's say your goal is to run a marathon, in 4 weeks time. Let's be honest, unless you are already a long distan…

Fairytales from the gym - Discipline

Is it a will of iron, or are you chained to your routines?
A while back I was having a conversation with a bodybuilder. He was, in line with many people in fitness, strictly focussed on his passion, and how it was superior to other strength training.

"Powerlifters" he said to me, "they eat all wrong and they're too fat, they've got no discipline see."
He said this, gesticulating with his fork, as he ate his usual meal of chicken breast with cold rice and broccoli.

As a powerlifter I thanked him for sharing his perspective and went on with my day!

Reflecting upon this from a coach's perspective, I started to look past his assumption that an individual's choice not to be as lean as they can and to eat in a way of their choosing could only be a lack of commitment. I started to consider the nature of "discipline" and how this works.

Meal plans and meal prep
Eating pre-prepared meals to the same recipe, multiple times a day, every day is fairl…