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Staying On Track

It's usually around this time where a lot of people seem to lose steam, their motivation drops off, and they start to find excuses to not train, or to eat as many refined sugars as they like. If you're here and reading this, congratulations, you're taking a good step. Even if you've slipped up in the last few weeks, missed some workouts or had a couple too many treat meals, it's about negotiating with yourself to stay on track and bounce back after a slip up. 

Here are some short and simple tips that we have learnt along the way that may also help motivate you:

1. Remember the original reason you started, write it down or place it somewhere you will continue to see it.

2. Track your measurements. You may have noticed the six tasks that have been assigned to each week, every second week is taking your measurements. This is to ensure you have some kind of tracking in place to show you the positive effects exercise and good food is having on your body.

3. Track your progression. Seeing your fitness level progress is very rewarding.

4. If you're exercising and not seeing any results at all it may be time to start a food journal. Start noting down what you're eating, you may surprise yourself.

5. Remember that progression is not always straight forward. It's great when things are going the way you want, but remember, that may not always happen. There may be periods of time where you're run down, or where you are injured, or sick. It's times like these that you need to learn how to get yourself back on track afterwards. In the mean time, look after yourself and ensuring you're getting the best recovery possible.

6. Find a support network. This is one of the reasons we have the Facebook group, it's great to find people with a common goal. Try doing some of the workouts with a friend, or find someone who you can share meal prep ideas with. It doesn't have to be anything major, but finding a support network who have a common goal will help keep you on track.

7. Failure is normal. Don't beat yourself up about any small failures you may have had, you're just learning things that are challenges, or things that don't work for your body. Take the failure on board, assess why it happened, and correct the action for the future.

8. Encourage yourself. The words you speak to yourself form a majority of your self-image. Be kind to yourself.

. Seek motivation daily. Motivation won't always hang around on it's own, it's up to you to keep finding it and finding things that inspire you on your journey.

 

Caffeine vs Adrenal Glands

You wake up, well, you hit snooze 2 or 3 times then you wake up and you need to get ready for the day ahead, but it really doesn’t get started until that first cup of coffee hits your lips. The caffeine gods have answered your plea, and it's time to get to work, you hit go, and your mind is sent into a time vortex where every task you have to do is done at the speed of light, you have reached max overdrive. 

Hours later you start to drift off, you feel drained, what the hell happened? What happened is that your adrenal cortex has been fatigued, when our body is stimulated by an external source, say something like your long black that you had at 8am before you got to work, it sends a signal to the brain, and releases a chemical that blocks all of your 'sleepy hormones'. After a few hours have past your sleepy hormones are re-activated, and you're searching for your next hit.

The initial cup you have has drained your adrenal glands, and trying to get them restored is a bit harder than having another cup,  your body has been under extreme stress and the hormone cortisol is released, which means that if there is fat production, that fat gets stored on your belly. It's not just coffee, but things like energy drinks, pre-workouts and thermogens can cause high adrenal stress and leave us fatigued, not only causing fat to store on your belly, but increasing your chances on anxiety, stress & depression.

Taking a break from coffee or any other stimulant is an optimal way to reduce fatigue, stress & anxiety and belly fat. After 14 days your body can reduce the cravings and addiction for coffee, as it is a psychoactive drug and you will see an increase in ability to sleep too. Be aware that if you decide to detox yourself from caffeine that you may feel extreme fatigue and even get headaches for the first 3-7 days. This is your body adjusting to functioning without the input of caffeine. Your adrenal glands will begin to naturally produce the energy you need again, and are less likely to be drained.

Long term adrenal draining can eventually lead to adrenal fatigue, so it's important to properly manage your body's level of stress, and what stimulants you're choosing to consume.

 

Pain Management

Pain is usually one of three kinds: neural, muscular or skeletal.  When doing a workout routine it's always important to make sure your body is mechanically sound enough to complete the exercise. Whether its preventative, maintenance or repair it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by a professional.

Most injuries are caused by overloading a muscle or joint, which in turn causes trigger points or inflammation. Commonly a lot of these injuries occur before even stepping into a gym. One we see quite a lot is usually caused by office or retail work, sitting at a desk all day or standing at a counter serving people is one way to create problematic postural abnormalities. Even for me right now typing this I know that I'm putting my neck under stress as I look down at my Macbook, which can cause a lot of back issues and then create pain in my shoulders, chest, neck, arms and much more. So next time you are doing work, study or even just flicking though Instagram, think to yourself, what is your posture doing to your spine?

I’m going to provide some tips on how to prevent pain from occupational hazards.

1. If you’re on your computer you’re more than likely using a mouse, this can create tightness in your upper traps, rotator cuff, arms and back.  Make sure your chair isn’t too high that it makes you raise your shoulders up, switch mouse from hand to hand every now and again, stretch your arms, go for a short walk, or at least stand up and move around every 30 mins. Be aware of your posture, if you feel yourself slumping, sit up straight and squeeze your shoulders together for 10 seconds. Not only will this remind you that you have poor posture, but will also strengthen the back muscles that cause slumping in the first place.

2. If you are standing at work, most probably you are leaning to one side, loading up your hip. This one may seem unlikely but it can cause a lot of pain in the future. Loading up your hip creates little contractions in your glutes, that can then tighten up your lower spine, for a lot of you who get a “Sciatica” pain that travels down your lower back, bum, and all through your legs, this is usually the cause. This is a nerve pain that is caused by the impingement of your sciatic never in your lower spine and through a muscle called your piriformis. It’s technically not sciatica, but can cause the same symptoms. Switch from leg to leg, be mindful of your posture, awareness is the key! Try and stand on both legs as evenly as possible, walk around, and when no-ones looking, stretch.

3. If your job involves lifting, your lower back is probably pretty sore, if you haven’t been to the gym, or been taught how to deadlift properly, chances are you are lifting wrong. If your back feels like that of a camels, then straighten that guy up and bend at the hips and knees, keeping a tight tummy and getting down low will help you lift any item safely, if it's too heavy get a friend to help.

4. Got pains already? These are some people to see:
Physiotherapist: For joint pain, niggling injuries, or sports injuries are the best.
Chiropractor: For joint pain, stiffness, nerve pain, mainly through the spine.
Massage therapist: For sore stiff muscles, tight necks, and shoulders, and lower backs.
Osteopaths: For sore joints, poor mobility.
These are just the basics, but there are also many other natural healers, everyone is different and different methods work for different people. So try a few and see what works best for you.

A few things you can do yourself is to do isolated stretches, which you can find in the stretching guide [here], trigger pointing with a ball, or a friend. Self-massage, and foam rolling. Natural remedies and minerals, that can help with inflammation and soreness like magnesium, glucosamine, turmeric, and many more.

Creating a pain management routine will not only help through your workouts, but your work and lifestyle too. Always remember to exercise safely, and if you're not sure on a technique, research or ask a professional.

 

Healing Frustration, Guilt, and Anger

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