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Up Your Game #1 – Why a podcast?

Welcome to the first episode of the Up Your Game podcast…

Learn how you can Up Your Game. Learn of new habits, tips and strategies that you can adapt and use to help you look and feel awesome. We will talk about everything from nutrition, exercise, mindset and much more. We are in this for the long game and want to help you stay active, fit and healthy for years to come.

This is our introductory episode so please look out for more episodes coming very soon and thanks for listening.

Insomnia… I can’t get no sleep!

Ok I haven’t got insomnia but I am struggling to sleep!
I am waking up really early in the morning, half 4 on Saturday morning 🙁

Once I wake up my brain starts firing away and then I can’t get back to sleep.
I know I am not alone in this regard.
There are lots of people who can’t sleep well full stop.
But when you are used to sleeping all night it not the best.
We have a lot going on with the house move and work as well so between those two factors my sleep has taken a hit.
Obviously the lack of sleep has a knock on effect in terms of how we feel and productivity levels.
So last night I went back to a method I have used before and I done a…
BRAIN DUMP!!!
So I wrote down everything that’s going on and what I need to do onto a bit of paper.
EVERYTHING.
House stuff, work stuff and personal stuff.
All on one bit of paper and easy to read (Well not with me being left handed)
After I completed that I went to bed.
So how did I get on last night?
Well I did wake up a couple of times but I did manage to get back to sleep on both occasions.
Then my alarm woke me up. Which was a welcome sound.
So that goes down as a win in my book.
Not complete success but a win all the same.
So that simple tactic helped me get some extra sleep and cleared my brain of 100’s things that are going on and swirling around on a daily basis.
Just an idea that you could use if this happens to you.
Mark

Fit Bit v Reality

Ok before I start bashing the merits of technology let me just make it clear that I love technology and all the luxuries it affords us. But I just want to impose a bit of a reality check when it comes to things like Fit Bits and devices just like it.

 

A lot of people nowadays have a device on their wrist that gives them lots of data from steps, heart rate, sleep, calories burned, exercise and how many yours you have been standing up for on that particular day. One magical thing this does is it encourages…

 

MOVEMENT

 

You want to reach 10,000 steps, you want to burn more calories and you want your watch to tell you that you have reached your goals for the day. All these things are great and I feel provide a great benefit to getting people moving more. Which in turn will make them look and feel better of the long haul.

 

I do however feel we need to take these results with a pinch of salt.

 

We can be come to reliant on the data that the watch gives you. These devices only accurate to a certain point. My main gripe is with strength training in the gym. A fit bit will not register anywhere near as many calories for strength training compared to cardio exercise. This is due to the difference in the elevation in your heart rate during the two different types of exercise.

 

If you are putting in a shift in the gym with resistance training you will be burning a sufficient amount of calories but the watch doesn’t always show this.

 

There is also the calories burned information that the watch gives you, I am not entirely sure how accurate that is and it definitely doesn’t mean that because you have burned said calories doesn’t mean you should consume said calories as extra food.

 

I also just did 70 odd steps but moving my hand back and forward sitting at my desk…

 

So like I said before take the readings with a pinch of salt. Don’t get overly fixated on it but use it to your advantage.

Motivation V Routine

Motivation is a wonderful thing and it can be used to get you to do things and achieve what you possibly wouldn’t with out. You may get inspired by a video you watch, a song you hear or a story you are told. This could give you the push you need to do the thing you have been putting off for a while or to change your ways for the better.

 

Like I said it’s a wonderful thing. Can we rely on it that though, is it dependable enough?

 

Probably not. As you know motivation is very sporadic and doesn’t have a great shelf life. Once you get some motivation to do something it might not last long enough to do the task in hand and it may fall by the way side. Obviously that depends on the length and magnitude of the task involved.

 

Motivation will always come and go. It’s really hard to maintain motivation for everything all the time. But what if we put routines in place that compensate for those times of lacking motivation? This could help ensure we are still doing the right things despite not always having high levels of motivation.

 

Routines/Habits need to be developed and worked on so that they become exactly that, a habit. We will have good habits and not so good habits that currently feature in our everyday life. We try to swap out the good ones for bad ones and sometimes that works. It’s a constant trial and error situation. When you find one that works you keep it and discard the ones that don’t.

 

Once we have went through this process for a while the good habits should outweigh the bad. They obviously need to be relevant to your goals as well. Whether that’s weight loss, sleep better, get stronger or just generally feel awesome. So having your habits and goals aligned is key.

 

This might mean we don’t have to rely on motivation to get things done as much as we think. Ultimately meaning we can achieve more by using routines as part of our daily practice. As always I suggest starting off small by adding in some new habits for a sustained period of time to see if they work and will stick. Things like drinking 2L water per day or going for a 20 minute walk are simple and easy to implement.

 

Hopefully this provides you with some motivation to get started and the routines you put in place will do the rest.

Why I don’t meal prep…

In the fitness industry MEAL PREP is something that is talked about…

 

A LOT.

 

As the only way to be able to stay accountable to your diet and calorie requirements. Now don’t get me wrong it can be a very handy tool to help you stay on track with your nutrition. It can save you time, it takes the choice on the day out the equation as you already have the food prepped and ready to go. You also have to be a lot of Tupperware.

 

But let me tell you a little secret…

 

I don’t meal prep and here is why.

 

The reason I don’t meal prep is not because I think it doesn’t work or I have an issue with it. As I mentioned before there are some very valid reasons to have a lot of food prepared 2/3 days in advance. However I prefer to prepare my food on the day or the day before at a push. This is because I like my food fresh and I like cooking so I don’t find it a chore or hassle.

 

When I get up in the morning I will make my breakfast, usually some for of eggs and my greens smoothie. Then on my lunch break I make and have lunch and generally prepare dinner at the same time unless my Wife is doing it that day. Sometimes I will have left over dinner for lunch the next day as we I don’t like wasting food either.

 

Obviously this approach requires more time to prepare/cook and if you don’t have that time at your disposal then food prep might be a more appropriate way of keep your eating on point. Just make sure you have plenty of variety in their to stop you from getting bored and reverting back to your old ways. This is when you forget to prep one Sunday night and you eat anything and everything for the next few days.

 

To meal prep or not?

 

It comes down to:

 

Time – Do you have enough time to cook your food fresh on the day

 

Cooking Skills – Can you cook and do enjoy the process or just want it done

 

Variety – Are you happy eating the same things all the time or do you like variety

 

You need to find what works for you, it might be one or the other maybe even a mixture of both.

 

All we need to know is that controlling your food intake by thinking about things like protein, carbohydrate and fat intake can really help you reach your health and fitness goals.

 

There is no right or wrong. Just results or none.

The children are the future…

We all I am sure for the most part have fond memories of being a kid.

 

Heck, sometimes I still think I am a kid.

 

However it seems things look slightly different for the future generations and more than likely your own children. Not only with the increase in technology to ensure most children about the age of 8 have a smart phone, tablet device, TV in their room and access to the world wide web. This carries some amazing benefits for the children of today but it also carries some burdens too.

 

I am not actually here to discuss children and advancing technologies. I am here to discuss children and the rise in obesity levels. Now the fact we have an obesity epidemic on our hands is not new or groundbreaking information. However a recently study by The WHO (No not the amazing rock band from the 60/70’s) The World Health Organization found that obesity levels have increased 10 times what they were 40 years ago. Which means there are over 120 MILLION obese children in the world.

 

That is a very scary statistic.

 

You may or may not have kids. You may want to have them in the future. We need to stop the rot. Our mission should be to set an example to our children, us being their most influential teachers from an early age. Don’t set them up to fail, especially not with their health. You probably don’t even give it a second thought as your child may not have obesity, which is great. That doesn’t give you a free pass to not try and educate your kids as best you can.

 

I am not for one minute telling people how to raise their kids and never would do. But we do have a problem on our hands with obesity and surely we need to do everything we can do stop it and reverse it. There a lot of things in place to help combat this issue like the ‘Daily Mile’ kids do at school or projects kids do to promote health and well being. If we all done our bit it may not only help your own kids but other kids too.

 

The other bonus is that by setting a leading example to the youth of tomorrow it will only improve your own health and fitness in the process.

 

Which is never a bad thing.

 

As Whitney Houston once said “I believe the children are the future”

 

She isn’t wrong so lets give them half a chance.

5 Tips to get through the weekend…

I know the weekend has just passed us by but if you blink long enough the next one will be here before you know it. Most of us struggle to through the weekend without any for of indulgence, feeling of guilt or that all our health and fitness aspirations are out the window if we continue like this.

 

I totally feel your pain, the weekend is a tough one to navigate.

 

I struggle with it myself sometimes and try to justify it by telling myself I have been good all week and deserve to loosen the rains a bit. Which to a certain extend is true but not to the point where I am hoovering up every morsel of find that passes my eyes.

 

So I come bearing gifts, some tips and tricks to make it out of the weekend alive and not adding pounds to the scales to taking them off your bank balance.

 

Here goes:

 

  1. Give yourself a head start

You know the weekend is coming so why not get prepared for it? On Thursday and Friday reduce your calorie intake slightly so that you are in credit going into the weekend. Maybe its having 35g of rice with dinner instead of 70g or having 1 slice of toast with your scrambled eggs each day instead of 2. All these small sacrifices add up to extra calories for the weekend.

 

  1. Get a sweat on to start the weekend

Getting a workout done on Saturday morning is a sure fire way to kick start your metabolism for the day so that you can enjoy your night out with friends or family birthday meal guilt free. Not only will you burn calories during your workout but if you work hard enough then your body will be burning more calories for a few hours afterwards. So that’s a double bonus.

 

  1. Have a big breakfast

Having a big breakfast will fill you up and deter your from snacking on needless rubbish throughout the day. Have what you would normally have for breakfast during the week. Some eggs or some porridge to fill you up. Then you can have a lighter lunch if you are going out for a big meal at night or having a takeaway at home.

 

  1. Go All in ONCE

The word cheat meal gets thrown around like an empty tracksuit and people focus on it far too much when it comes to ‘Dieting’ but I am all for having an indulgent meal once or twice a week to satisfy any cravings and to get it our your system till next week. If we limit it to once a week then we are not going to go too far over our calorie intake for the day. Especially if we have followed all the other steps mentioned.

 

  1. Down it, Down it

Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water over the weekend. People seem to get to the weekend and forget they need water to live. Sometimes when you think you are hungry you are actually thirsty. So please make sure you drink plenty and that will stop you snacking as much thinking you hungry when you are not.

 

Ok there it is. 5 Tips to get you through the weekend. It’s fool proof or bullet proof for that matter but it will definitely help if you can implement these.

 

Good Luck.

Is It Value For money?

 

 

We all want it but I imagine we all have different ideas when it comes to what is value for money…

 

I am here to argue the case for the gym membership. At a very reasonable £35 per month (depends which gym you go to) I think you would be much better off spending your hard earned pennies on this rather than some of the other commodities on over these days.

 

A night out can cost you over £100 and that includes feeling terrible the next day and not getting much done. That’s 3 months at the gym, well nearly. Then there is things like watching TV, I know some people who pay between £70 and £100 per month for the privilege to watch the TV. (My advice is get a Fire stick and Netflix, much cheaper)

 

Most of us like food and we really like it when someone else makes our food. Like the man from your favourite takeaway shop making it. If you have 3 – 4 takeaway’s a month that could be £50 – £70, which seems like a lot for 3 or 4 meals but that’s the reality. I am not against any of the things I have previously mentioned. I like a night out, a decent TV show and a good meal as much as the next person.

 

However I am just highlighting the amount of money we spend on various things, not to mention all the other nonsense we spend our money on. Some people don’t have a gym membership because they feel they can’t afford it. Which when you compare it to all these other outgoings seems bonkers. You can drastically change your health and fitness for just over £1 per day.

 

£1 PER DAY….

 

I am just asking you to consider what you think is a priority when it comes to how you spend your money. Things that make you feel and look better or things that make you feel and look worse. Surely that’s a no brainer?

 

Life is to be enjoyed so splashing the cash on things you enjoy is certainly not a bad thing. But I would also say it can be enjoyed so much more in full health, bags of energy and some motivation to see the world, do fun things and live life the way it was meant to be.

 

To the fullest.

Are you killing yourself?

The world of business can be a frantic affair. Especially when you are in business for yourself or hold an important position within the company you work for. The pressures that come with your job are taking their toll on you whether you realise it or not. People are still working 60 – 80 hours a week just to the job done.

 

This doesn’t always leave room for much else in your life in terms of social life, family time, sleep, exercise and good daily habits when it comes to your nutrition. These are the things that take a back seat and you start to let things slip just to ensure the latest project gets done.

 

Is that trade off worth it?

 

Over time your work rate, level of performance and energy levels will all start drop and then the quality of your work will start to suffer. This is when you need to consider is it worth pushing and pushing with no let up before something bigger than fatigue stops you in your tracks like severe illness. It’s not guaranteed that you will fall ill but there is more chance if you aren’t looking after yourself.

 

I am all for hard work and being a business owner myself makes me appreciate the fact that we have to put the hours in otherwise our ship will sink. I do also know the difference of when I am firing on all cylinders through a balanced approach to my work/life balance rather than just keep going until something has to give.

 

Your way of doing things will be different to the next person as they have to work for you but the principles will be the same for most of us. Don’t burn out trying to be the hero. The real hero’s know when to push and when to rest.

 

Ultimately in the long run you will be better off and get more SHIT done.

This is so simple even YOU could do it…

Only kidding!

 

But it is pretty simple and it was just a simple change that I made to a daily habit that made it so much easier. Normally I consume water from 2L bottle from Aldi, so I just carry it about with me and drink it over the course of the day. I normally get through between 1.5 – 2 bottles per day. Therefore I normally consume between 3 – 4L of water per day.

 

But I was finding that I knew roughly how much I was drinking but not exactly. As I would drink most of one bottle in the morning and then take a fresh one to work in the afternoon and not quite finish that either. Meaning I some bottle left over with different amounts of water in them. So I decided to go back to using a proper water bottle.

 

This bottle is 1L, which is pretty handy. So we fill them up at night for the next day and have them stacked in the fridge. I just get up in the morning and grab one. The bonus is it’s nice and cold, which might not be too handy in the winter but it works just now. Now I know this is not rocket science or anything new but it works and I have really noticed a difference.

 

I am definitely drinking more water as a result of the change. I am not sure if the fact it’s only 1L instead of 2L makes it seem easier to drink. But I am drinking more in the mornings when I get up and know I am getting 4L in most days. The only down side is the increase in trips to the toilet, which I am used to by now so not the worst problem to have.

 

I know a lot of people struggle to drink enough water so just implementing a small change like this will definitely help you consume more water of the course of the day. It will also mean you can keep track of it easier too. I am not saying you need to drink 4L of water per day but I am guessing you could do with drinking more like the rest of us.

 

Small changes make the biggest difference.

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