Some Changes That Worked for Me

I believe change is a good thing.  It can keep things fresh and get our attention back on track. Changing things too often though without giving things a chance to work will not often return a positive result.  I treat my body as an experiment and am constantly changing things to see how they feel, fit and work in my body and my life.  Sometime I have to quickly head back to what I know works for me to undo the damage that my latest experiment has caused, such as when I toyed with intermittent fasting, and put it down to a learning experience.  Some of the things I have changed that have made me leaner, stronger and generally feel better that “fit” into my life are as follows:

Strength training – and I dont mean resistance training in general, I am referring to whole body, compound lifts, heavy weight, lowish reps.  This type of training has changed things from being about how I look or how a certain muscle looks and has become about what my body can do.  Girls dont get why being strong is an important goal for me but I assure you if you give it a try, stick at it for a bit and give it a chance to change your body and your mind.

Stop snacking – and eat more meals.  I thought I better put that bit in quick smart as I dont want you, women especially, for a moment to think I am saying to eat less.  Some people need to eat less, many women I meet and train need to eat more and more of the right stuff.  I still love good food and food that tastes good but these days I tend to look for opportunities to give my body what it needs so it can give me what I need which is a clear head and energy to live work and train.  So everytime I eat I eat for performance (and taste) and that generally equals protein, vegies and fats or carbs depending on timing of the meal and I always get these from whole food sources (there are exceptions and exceptions often creep in at ovulation time!)  So 3 meals and 2 snacks worked for me quite well but 4 meals works even better for me I have found.

Train less – it took a trainer I respected highly to convince me of this one.  I didnt want a bar of it, it didnt make sense in my mind how less could be more and it was really hard to break that exercise addiction, my hit of endorphins daily or twice daily even 3 times a day in the past!  Where did I find the energy I find myself asking now.  He convinced me to do a period of only training 3 times per week (nearly killed me mentally) and I had to see it to believe it but my body got leaner and stronger and I felt good, I lost some fitness but I regained that quite quickly when we added some well programmed fitness sessions back into the week.  Since then I continue to play with my training schedule.  I find at times of stress or feeling out of control in areas of my life that I tend to suddenly feel the need to crank up the duration, volume and intensity of my training program, this is a control thing, a spin off from the anorexia and bulimia I suffered from for over a decade, but I can see it for what it is, ackowledge it but know that I have done the experiment and I dont need to do any “more” training! At present I tend to do 4-5 sessions a week making sure to leave enough rest between my strength days.  How do you know when too much is too much?  Listen to your body, again some people will use this as excuse to rest when they havent earned it but a lot of the women I see and speak too are thinking they can beat their bodies into submission with hours and hours of haphazard exercise when they could achieve the same physical resutls with a few hours of well programmed training instead.  And the same trainer said to me “he who tries to quieten the mind with exercise will end up burn out”.  Sometimes its hard to hear the truth, it was for me but often its what you need to hear to be able to progress and become better.

Stretch – I was shocked to hear myself say the other day “I love yoga”, I love my yoga, I am sure that there are forms of it that I would still detest.  I love now because I made a pact with myself to do something that I sucked at, to follow a process and create some discipline.  I wanted to walk out that door of the yoga studio and not go back buI had made the commitment and it was now non negotiable.  In the beginning it was about stretching, these days it is as much about breathing and slowing down and whilst to some who have known me for years it may appeat I have gone soft, I assure you it is more a case of getting wise and educated.  I love being flexible, it carries over to all my other training.  I still have a long way to go to be called “flexible” but I am progressing and the progress is easily measured week to week which is exciting one of the things that keeps me coming back now.  Strong and flexible is powerful, strong and rigid or stiff will break, just like in nature.  You dont have to do yoga to incorporate stretching and mobility into your life.  Just fit it in wherever it fits.  It took me 8 years to give this gig a go theres no going back now (do you think its an age thing?  Perhaps.   Wont overthink it.)

There are more things I have changed but this blog will end up being 2 coffees or a bottle of red long if I dont stop now.  Think about something that doesnt quite fit your routine, your body, your life at present and do a little experiment.  I would love to hear how you go.