So, it has been a little while since my last blog – the dust has settled after my first ever body building competition where I competed in the UKBFF bikini tall class, I’m undergoing therapy for two herniated discs and I haven’t played a game of rugby since April – however I’m still training, eating well(ish) and working!
In the first two parts of this series I covered planning, goal setting, actually doing it – and I wanted to touch on a part a lot of people overlook. Sometimes you reach your performance or body composition goal – then what? Sometimes you just plod along with a loosely self designed training and nutrition framework. Sometimes you lose focus, or hit a plateau and stop getting results, or fall out of love a bit with your sport.
We sometimes forget to review our journey, make adjustments and constantly educate ourselves, and this is incredibly important.
Review Your Journey and Adjust
We live in an impatient society. We want results and we wanted them yesterday. However, as I previously mentioned, if you are looking for long-term lasting results you have to turn this into a lifestyle.
I was very much aware that I would not be able to maintain my low body fat levels (I was approx. 13-15% body fat) that I carried to stage. Why not? Because I knew I could not maintain three hours of daily exercise and a diet so bland you might as well try to chew on your unwashed bathroom rug for more flavour.
So whatever your goal, choose a slow, healthy and sustainable approach for sustainable results. Be disciplined but don’t overly restrict yourself.
Remember to take stock of how far you have come, and not just to focus on your end goal.
Here are few practical tips:
– Log your training. You will then be able to compare your lifts, times or any other measurable output. Use that data that allows you to see progression, or recognize when there is a plateau and you need to change something. This is why you’ll see people in the gym carrying notepads and pens, and there are also apps that you can download (e.g. fitbit or mapmyrun).
– If you are going for body composition goals (eg: increasing muscle, losing fat or simply maintaining), take measurements and photos on a weekly basis. Be wary of the scales – weight can fluctuate on an hourly basis and may not give you the clearest picture. See the pic on the left (from Dollcurves facebook page).
– Review other variables that actually matter. It is sometimes not just about the quantitative performance measures or what is visible to the eye. How are you sleeping? How is your mood? How are your energy levels? Improvements in training and diet should have positive spillover in these areas too.
– Be consistent. Whether you are following some sort of set programme or if you have just made some changes to your habits – be consistent and give it a few weeks. If it is working, keep going. Don’t try and fix something that isn’t broken.
– Don’t be afraid of change when it is needed. If you do hit a plateau for a few weeks, or if you do not enjoy what you are doing – CHANGE IT. There’s no point doing something unless you derive some sort of enjoyment from it! For example; I hear people moan about cardio (and yes I am one of them). You are not chained to the cross trainer or whatever cardio equipment. Change it up – do HIIT instead of steady state and vice versa, do kettlebell circuits or bootcamp, attend classes – whatever works for you.
– Do what you enjoy. Chances are if you do something you enjoy you will push yourself more and get the results you want. People have said to me “ I wouldn’t be able to do chicken, broccoli and sweet potato 5 times a day”. Well, you don’t have to! There is more than one way to skin a cat. My diet was pretty straight forward and bland (not to that extent) which in many aspects worked well for me and my goals, but there are so many people who get results through a more flexible yet still healthy approach to nutrition.
Constantly Educate Yourself
Social media changed my life. I started following athletes on twitter, liking facebook pages and immersing myself in podcasts and blogs. Not only did it inspire me to compete, but I have acquired a huge wealth of knowledge.
I’m not a personal trainer, professional athlete or qualified dietician – but following the work of many of the industry’s best people in these fields enriched me and I constantly learn something new. I wanted to share with you a few of the people and pages that inspire me on a daily basis.
FACEBOOK PAGES TO ‘LIKE’
Alex Ferentinos – Nutrition and Fitness Consultant (Alex also plays for the FRN 7s team)
Ben Coomber (Performance Nutritionist, rugby player)
Body Type Nutrition (Providing bespoke nutrition and training strategies)
Gordon Greenhorn: Fitness/Nutrition Advisor/Natural Bodybuilder Impruvism (The science of awesome!)
IronMac Fitness (Strength and conditioning coach)
James Conci-Mitchell: Founder Six3Nine & Fitness Columnist (PT practice owner & fitness journal publisher)
Joseph Agu (Nutrition consultant)
Layne Norton (PhD Nutritional sciences, researcher, columnist)
Phil Learney Strength Coach / Educator (One of the UK’s best. Works with top athletes)
Phil Learney Nutrition & Performance Podcast
Ben Coomber Radio
BLOGS AND WEBSITES (other than the wonderful FindRugbyNow site!)
Body Type Nutrition (www.bodytypenutrion.co.uk)
Examine.com (www.examine.com) independent scientific analysis on supplements and nutrition
Impruvism (www.impruvism.com) helping obsessive and highly motivated people simplify their health, fitness and productivity
Nics Nutrition (www.nicsnutrition.com) lots of amazing healthy recipes!
Protein Pow (www.proteinpow.com) protein powder sweet and savoury recipes
Richard Lovatt (www.richardlovattpt.tumblr.com) great blogs on fat loss and different protocols
This Dude Knows Food (www.thisdudeknowsfood.com) weekly recipe videos – delicious!
YOUTUBE CHANNELS TO SUBSCRIBE TO
I hope this blog has been useful to you. As always, if you have any questions or want to share anything, please do contact me or leave a comment below.
In my next blog I’m going to share some of my favourite packed lunch recipes, and for those like me who have an insatiable sweet tooth, some protein powder dessert recipes!