Tag Archives: motivation

Drop It Like a Squat…..

Wait.  That’s not how the song goes is it?   I don’t know.  *shrugs*

Anyhoo.  Today’s lesson kids is all about the SQUAT.  SQUUUAAAAAAAAATTT!!!! Oh, dear lord.  Why?   Why are you talking about that most (imo) discussed move in the gym?  Why discuss the elephant in the room that is “The perfect form”

post-30526-hot-fuzz-greater-good-gif-simo-frny

Just like “The Perfect Form”

I spent a year with Andy, PT extraordinaire & lot of our sessions were focused around squats; he mentioned not taking videos of clients because as soon as you do & post it on-line everyone has an opinion about whether their form is correct or not.  Helpful, you may think?  Yes, it can be from time to time…..the more stringent of moves can definitely benefit from opinions of others & I guess, that from time to time a form check on a squat can be advantageous too – however everyone has an opinion about whether your squat is correct or not.

Unless the person giving you feedback knows your bodily mechanisms – such as femur length, ankle flexibility, any prior injuries & how your hip joint sits into your hip socket, then they’re probably not overly qualified to give you advice.  I don’t mean that you can never ask for a form check, however there are a few things to bear in mind if you so choose to open yourself to the array of feedback from the internet (I have found myself on the receiving end of unwanted feedback, however that’s by the by)

I’m not an expert & I have NO intention of ever telling anyone their form is wrong – if they ask for critique then fine, there’s a set of basics I like to adhere to:

  • Warm up! Warm up! If you can squat with weight, body weight squat a few reps to engage your hips. At bodyweight?  That’s fine, hold onto something or box squat to warm up.
  • Break parallel – if you can’t with a barbell squat, do box squats with a kettlebell (known as goblet squats) to know where parallel is, then move the box & work on getting lower to the ground….not to low though, you don’t want you back to curl too much.
  • Keep your feet FLAT, or if ankle mobility could be an issue, raise your heels.  You don’t need expensive lifting shoes, just some small weight plates with your heels (up to your foot ach, I’d say) keeping your toes FIRMLY on the floor.
  • Flat shoes!  Converse, chucks, Crossfit style….not squishy style running shoes.  They’re too soft for all that weight you’ll squat – if you can’t afford other shoes, then take off the squishy running shoes & squat in your socks.
  • The way I squat isn’t the same as the person in the rack next to me.  Comparing our forms to be a “cookie cutter” one size fits all with squats is outdated, incorrect & potentially, harmful.

A little insight if this is the first post of mine you’re reading – I have degenerating discs in the lower area of my spine (L4 & L5) which can rub nerves through my SI joint causing pain across one or both hips.

When I squat my toes point out & my knees go over my feet – I have long femurs (or at least from what I read online it means they’re long) A lot of people who think they’re attempting to be helpful by telling me things like I need to open my hips more, or lean a little backwards, or whatever critique they want to lay on me when it comes to squats is either, A: Ignored. or B: Retaliated – this person doesn’t know me & I wasn’t asking for their input.  Their “help” is actually extremely out of date & if I wanted my form checking, I’d be asking Andy for a session in the gym.

****

This is why no two people will squat the same & why you shouldn’t expect them to.  If you can squat low & keep your knees from tracking over your feet, bravo. Well done.  If you can get “ass to grass” but your knees are over your feet?  Well done to you too.

In conclusion, you do you & don’t ask for multitudes of advice & opinions of others, too much information can be more confusing than helpful. This is why I advocate the use of a PT.  These guys are trained & should be up to date with all the latest sciences to help you prevent injury & become stronger.

This is me at work the other day, after reading a discussion about femur length on a group I wondered if mine tracked out farther than my shoulders (I tend to squat away from mirrors in the gym, so I can “feel” the movement) so I whacked on the self timer & repped out a few BW squats in the kitchen.  My position is what it right for me, it may not be right for you, but the best thing to do is to try. Don’t attempt to fit to the “perfect form” aim for form that is good, form that won’t cause injury.  Keep to the basics, don’t overthink, ask for feedback if you want it, but remember what works for one, may not be right for you.

A day of squats in the gym means it’s a day closer to deadlifts!

Untitled.png

Bonus last year vs this year BW squat

 

Advertisements

Who Took Away My Goddamned Vitamin D?!

The sun is gone.

I hate this time of year.

March 6th 1997 I moved 13,000 miles.  I grew up in the Southern Hemisphere, spent my entire childhood thinking winter were the months where it didn’t rain & the temperature got to 15 degrees.  That’s celsius by the way, not fahrenheit.  The first thing I said stepping off the plane was “send me back, it’s far too cold here”

The first winter, snow was a novelty but the long, dark evenings threw me.  The need for layers was weird, I grew up not owning a coat, or gloves or even a scarf.  The height of summer in the UK & I was wearing a jacket, 20 degrees was NOT warm.

I’m acclimated to the summer in the UK, more or less.  There are a few days a year where I will admit it’s “quite warm”  but once it hits late October, I’m a different person & it takes me aaaaaaaages to sort my head out.  This year seems to be harder than previous years….I could hazard guesses to why, but after chatting to a few of my peers, I think it may be SAD.

SAD-2

I’m not diagnosed but a few symptoms are there, but I don’t want to say I have it without a GP & I don’t think it’s at the point where I need medical intervention.  This week and last have been hard, despite eating right & continuing to cycle, getting up to go to the gym was overwhelming; to the point where I had like 4 rest days in a row (not 100% rest, I still cycle every day) My alarm would go off & I’d snooze for an hour & a half, despite knowing rush hour is a ballache to cycle in, I didn’t really care.

26d51e9a2217ad70903f07b68f2cf26d

I didn’t really want to leave the confines of my house, I like it in here, it’s safe & comfortable and I don’t have to deal with people.  However, I still got up (albeit too late to train) still cycled & still went to work.  Some cycle journeys have been a massive slog, others have been quite enjoyable, but nevertheless; the changing of the seasons has completely messedup my head.

tumblr_myajukqyel1r52w56o3_r1_500

Until today.  My lovely husband woke me when my alarm went off as he knew I’d not been to the gym in a few days (me not training means my back pain can return, & no one wants that) I got up, he made me a GLORIOUS pot of fresh coffee & I made it to the gym.

Saturday’s in the gym are a new thing for me as my time is extremely limited due to having to be at work before 9am, so i tend to train intuitively.  Today I opted for lats training as I can’t remember the last time I trained them.  On occasion I’ll film part of my session, today was such an occasion (just getting into the gym made me happier!!)

As you can see, it may still be double digits outside, but I’ve switched from leggings & vest to Adidas ClimaWarm gear (which, BTW is incredible!!)

So, yeah.  I hate the weather, I hate my mind, I hate people in general but today taught me that no matter how much I am feeling gloomy, it’s good to get up, inhale as much coffee as possible, layer up & go and train.  If you’re like me, you’ll feel a fuck ton better for doing so 🙂


I’m As Mad As Hell……

Another post I’ve pondered for a few days.

“It’s so easy for you. You’re thin already….”

“I bet you hardly have to work at all”

Sound familiar?

Well……let’s discuss why you should never, ever, ever, EVER say these to someone who trains.  (Even if you think it’s a compliment, it isn’t; you’re disregarding EVERYTHING they’ve done, so NO. Stop it. Now.)

Point one:

You may see me as thin.

You may have even thought the same a year ago when I weighed over a stone more than I do now. I carry my weight relatively well (I’m 5 foot 10 too), but that doesn’t mean I’m “thin”. Up until recently, my BMI (even though I loathe it) said I was overweight. My body fat percentage, again has only recently come down to a normal range.

It’s easy for me?  It’s EASY for me?  It’s easy for ME?! 

How dare you assume these things! Have you seen me train? do you know how far I’ve come in 8 months? Do you know how many times I’ve woken up & not wanted to go to the gym? Do you understand how disheartening it is not being able to lift more/do more reps/cycle faster one week to the next? You don’t see the struggle, you don’t see me willing myself to do that last rep, to pedal past the overwhelming quad soreness.

You don’t see me spend my Sunday’s cooking food for the week, or making sure I’ve packed protein shakes/snacks/spare socks etc. You don’t see me compare myself to others & look at how much our progress varies & how much I want to be better/stronger/more defined.  You don’t know how many times I’ve struggled to walk down stairs or get changed because muscles on me have screamed at them being used for the slightest of tasks.  (Can I get a Whoop-Whoop for DOMS???)

Point two: See point one’s reply, oh and……


Judge A Fish By The Ability To Ride A Bicycle….

….And he will go his whole life believing he is stupid.

Or maybe he needs a better bike?

I have no idea why I chose that title; however when thinking about what to post in relation to my love of cycling it began to take a “What Women Want” kind of vibe to it

No games. How do I get that in? She’s running. It’s early, it’s quiet. Just the sound of her feet on the asphalt. She likes to run alone. No pressure, no stress. This is the one place she can be herself. Look any way she wants, dress, think any way she wants. No game playing, no rules. Games, sports, rules. Games, sports, rules. Playing by the rules. Playing games versus playing – Playing by the rules. Playing games versus playing.

Soooooooo, maybe I tried to flip it round and somehow make that scene seem completely fake.

BUT

It isn’t.

I suppose you could relate it to any sporting event or whatever, however it never rung more true until the other night, cycling home & my headphones had died, so I was in complete silence. It was so tranquil, I mean I cycle usually along main roads & the like but it was serene.  There was a mild breeze, it was still light out & just….perfect.  No thoughts, no worries, no noise, all the trials & tribulations…no more.  It was incredible.

I normally have music playing & just cycle where I need to go, without really thinking about it and was quite irked that my headphones had lost their charge but it was actually one of the best cycles I’ve had.  It reminded me of the cycles out I used to have when I was younger.  Like, free….no cares in the world, just me & the bike.


Dear You……

I know you see me a lot in gym gear, or zooming past you on my bike.  You sometimes see a status from me on social media talking about what I’ve been up to in the gym, or maybe you’ve seen photos on instagram of food I’ve made. You smile when you see me, tell me I’m getting smaller and in the next breath; tell me I’m obsessed with training.  You may look at me like I’m crazy when I tell you what time I get up to go & train, you sometimes tell me that I’m mad, or it will damage my health doing this.

You are not helping me.

You may think that your remarks, looks and comments are in jest or perhaps, somewhere deep down inside your heart that you are, in fact helping.  You are wrong.  You cannot seem to comprehend how damaging what you’re saying actually is.

Do I tell you you’re “obsessed” with whatever passion you’re pursuing? Do I just look at you & shake my head when you tell me something that you’re really excited about? Even if I don’t understand why your passion burns so brightly?  Why would I do that? You’re clearly extremely happy with where you’re going & what you’re doing, so why am I received with groans, looks of shock/disbelief when I tell you I did a 70kg deadlift?

My passion burns just as brightly as yours, even if you cannot see it or even attempt to understand it.  You admire how much I’ve changed, but then offer me chocolates & sweets; saying “it’s only one.  Go on, treat yourself” Do you know that I have issues with food? No.  Because I don’t talk about it.

A few months ago, your comments would have caused me worry. Worry if I was doing the right thing, worry that I’d develop Orthorexia, worry that I’d hurt myself, worry about whether it was all going to be worth it.  I don’t worry about your words now, but you should think more before you speak, even if you *think* you’re helping, reverse the situation:  If I said that to you, about something you love; how would you feel?

My own personal pursuit of aesthetics as well as being able to do general day-to-day tasks (that you may take for granted) have no impact on you & your life.  The way I choose to live mine; has no impact on you.  Doing what I do gives me joy & inner calm that I’ve not experienced for years – so maybe, yes I am obsessed.  I’m obsessed with being happier than I’ve felt, I’m obsessed with eating to fuel my body, not to gorge on garbage, obsessed with making an active decision to stop needing painkillers, obsessed with seeing if I can lift more, push more, cycle faster or cook something that tastes incredible, but doesn’t also want to kill you. Obsessed with being better & feeling better.

It is a lot of effort, but that doesn’t mean my choices can be something for you to poke fun at.  I get you don’t understand, I do. I get that.  I know you’re not interested enough for me to be able to eloquently explain why I do what I do & that’s fine.  I don’t want to bore you, however please, please, please don’t interpret your not wanting to know as an excuse for telling me that I’m “obsessed”.

Regards,

Passionate, not obsessed.

Train-Eat-Sleep-Repeat-Gym-Hoodie


Something Profound Happened….

The past week or so things have thwarted me in one way or another from training as much as I’d like. Some sound like awful excuses; so I’m not going in to it. It’s made me feel quite shitty & I’ve had to get back on the codeine.

I’ve been looking in to my diet & have made some changes- hopefully I’ll get to blog about it in greater detail later.  For now, I’ve added BCAA’s to my morning routine & have had some minimal success with Beta Alanine pre-gym.

Today, once I’d finished my set I weighed myself.  It’s not really something I want to make a habit of, but I do like to know where I am.  I’ve lost 3 kilo’s (6lb) this is the most I’ve lost for a long time.

Anyway, while I walking to work I was thinking about that 15kg – I use 14kg kettlebells to do squat warm-ups.  I used to carry that weight EVERYWHERE.

Although my journey to being fitter has never been about weightloss, I find it quite profound that what I lift (& couldn’t a few months ago) was the extra I used to weigh. I’ve never looked at it like that before.

DUOKnkM


My Top Inspirational People

I’ve been thinking about a post like this for a while, I had an idea for this & have been dwelling on it.  I now think I have my list; the people who in one way or another drive me to be better, who show through their own achievements; that you can be greater than the sum of your parts.

Andrew Burton

11050705_442441642581432_7937388424536406483_n

My trainer.  The man who has to put up with me talking & procrastinating when I should be lifting.  Who watches me hand out protein treats to other trainers, because it’s rare I make gluten-free stuff. He’s seen me laugh, he’s seen me cry; he even trained me when I was covered in bruises from breaking my nose.  He’s experienced his own fair share of trauma & heart ache. but is still really humble despite all this.  His energy radiates & it’s really hard to not be sucked in to the enthusiasm he has. I swear at him & tell him he’s mean, but he pushes me to beyond what I thought my limits were & I wouldn’t be where I am now without his guidance (despite him telling me, it’s all down to me. It really isn’t)

Amy

My internet friend for a few years; Amy ended up in hospital a few years ago & it was during her stay that she decided to change her life & lose weight. She dropped a lot & began heavy lifting, she was the first woman I knew to lift heavy & seeing her transformation was inspiring! (I was still quite lazy at the time, but admired her dedication & her results speak for themselves)

10455108_10155131653070455_2824764528476236210_n

Steff

I found Steff on Instagram after she’d liked one of my progress photos & her own personal training journey should be one that anyone who has ever wanted to get in to lifting should look at, she is just incredible to look at (I’m sorry if i sound like a perv, but hard bodies! hnnng!!)  Just viewing one of her posts makes me want to go to the gym!  It’s taken her a few years, but good things come to those who wait.  Based on her Instagram she’s training to go to body building competitions & I’m genuinely intrigued to see her progression.

10923586_1595618517318520_7092745305819888101_n

And lastly, but by no means; least. My Husband.

Untitled

My beloved.  My hero.  He believed in me when I didn’t.  He’s told me to train for years & I’d never bothered until last year.  He’s helped me in more ways than I could ever imagine. He carried me when I was at my weakest, brought me back from despair & has encouraged every step of my training journey. He’s open & extremely blunt but will make time for anyone who wants advice or just someone to talk to.  He’s creative & courageous; he endured painful physio after an injury that rendered his rugby playing days obsolete – pains that still live with him today.  He’s the strongest person I know.