How much sleep are you getting?
As a nation almost three quarters of us fall beneath the recommended seven hours per night, with half of us occasionally nodding off at work, according to a UK based survey.
If you're not getting enough sleep for you, then it's unlikely you'll be progressing as well as you'd like to fitness wise. It's essential for recovery and repair, before you try and go again.
If you're happy with your fitness routine but feel that you've plateaued - there can be a number of reasons for that, one of which is inadequate sleep. You haven't repaired properly from your last work out so you can't expect your body to co-operate and get stronger.
Sleep deprivation affects much more than your fitness progression. It can affect your immunity, mental health, cognitive function, reaction times and affect your heart rate variability.
So maybe think about adding some extra rest to your week where you are able to.
Sleep like a baby for a while and see if that makes a difference. You can only try..
Short of time to train?
Try Tabata workouts....
They are High Intensity Interval workouts that last 4 minutes.
Work hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds until you complete eight sets.
You can use resistance exercises or cardio with this approach.
An exercise that works your large muscle groups is good.
After your 8 work periods, rest for 1 minute before beginning the next.
Sprints: Remember 20 secs hard, 10 secs rest and repeat x 8.
Hold the correct posture, with eyes up, chest tall, shoulders relaxed, and arms moving like pistons (with the elbows at 45-degree angles).
Press-ups: Get into a fully extended arm plank position with hands positioned a little bit wider than shoulder width apart. Keep the elbows as close as you can to the body throughout the movement. Stabilise yourself by pushing the toes into the floor and engage the core muscles so the body is neutral. Lower the body in one straight line until the chest touches the floor. Keeping your core muscles engaged, exhale, and push back to the start position. 20 secs on, 10 secs off x 8
Have a go -it's tough but it's a time efficient way to train and can improve your endurance over time...
It's the 2 mile club for Anita, Asha and Sharon tonight!!! Even wild ponies didn't stop us 😁
Fantastic progress from you all - onwards now to our 5K goal
Why do we do that? It can stem back to our childhood when we were given food as a 'treat' or 'reward' for doing well or to make us smile again if we had hurt ourselves. Many of us have been taught that food makes us feel better, when we're feeling down....
We can often carry mixed messages into adulthood about food and why we crave it..
Good food should always be a pleasure but importantly it is a functional fuel that we use to power our bodies so that they work properly. There is no getting away from that.
It gets a little blurred around the edges for any of us when the scales get tipped on the pleasure side, rather than the functional fuel side.
We can easily eat too many calories in an attempt to make us feel better, which then leads to us feeling bad about overeating and in turn leads us into a viscous cycle where we eat unnecessarily and make poor food choices again.
If you're serious about changing your eating habits so that you improve your health for the future, exercise may well be the key to balancing the 'feel good' chemicals in your brain. Even 30 minutes of exercise has been shown to do that - move your body and elevate your heart rate. Not only is the exercise likely to make you feel better in the short term, in the long term you'll feel positive about it and are therefore less likely to emotionally eat afterwards.
If you begin to listen to your body at times of stress, then that partnership between actions and needs works much better!!
Keep your trainers handy - go for a quick walk, run, cycle or whatever you can fit in. Even 20 mins doing that could stop you making a poor food choice.
Cry - if you're upset. Not so easy in the middle of your weekly food shop or at work but if you have a build up of stress or hormones, then it's sometimes the pressure valve that needs to be put into action. Find a time to if you need to. No heroes required.
Talk - call up a friend for a chat. Even better, see if they can get out for a walk with you.
If it was easy, we'd all walk away from the cake but it's not.
Emotional eating is something that many of us do at times, so if you do it, don't beat yourself up about it. Life is quite often too busy and we all have those moments but take the time to recognise it and next time try a different way of dealing with whatever caused it, so that you progress with your health goals and move forward.
Recognise the behaviour and move towards feeling better
How do you get over a bad day or week when you've made poor food choices and feel rubbish?
I've yet to meet someone who doesn't have those days and weeks.
You start again - that's how you get over it.
Find a quiet space - turn off all gadgets - think about what your long term goal is. Improved health or maintenance of good health should be high up there, whatever other goals that you might have with regard to weight loss. Jot down some notes if that helps you to visualise your plan again.
Accept that today is a bad day - forgive yourself. Move on..
Take action to resolve it - what can you do to feel better? Go for a walk? Chat with a friend? Don't give in to it.
You're worth the investment in time and energy that you're making. Keep going. Don't let a bad day or week de-rail you.
Stop and remember why you want to progress and how you're going to do that.
This is a lifelong pursuit of good health and it's undoubtedly going to be an interesting one with triumphs and set backs.
One of the things that I've learnt is that we are all capable of so much more than we think.
Courage isn't always the athlete - it can equally be the person with the wobbly smile who despite personal set backs, picks themselves back up and starts to move forward again with their health.
Believe in your ability to get there and keep going.
So last week at York Race for Life, Jayne Snell ran 5K.
Three years ago this very weekend, Jayne went through a number of ordeals in order to attempt survival, following her diagnosis of a rare form of blood cancer. Her treatment included full body irradiation, a bone marrow stem cell transplant and lots of chemotherapy. She now has her amazing donors immune system and has even changed blood group.
Once she had recovered from her treatment, she decided that she wanted to become stronger and one of the things that she'd always wanted to do was run. She'd never thought that she could. It has taken us 9 months of training to get to today, where she ran 5K (with a beautiful pace).
I have been privileged to be part of Jayne's journey. She has worked incredibly hard to get to today, shown solid determination and has never ever given up, despite set backs.
It is possible to be stronger and fitter and achieve a fantastic goal, with patience and determination.
Jayne Snell, I can't tell you how emotional it felt for me today when you were up on the stage telling your story and how rewarding it was to cross the finish line with you.
Today my love, you really did it - you ran your first 5K.
More importantly, you refuse to be defined by the challenges that you have faced and you continue to move forwards - onwards to the next chapter xxxx