Motivation, habit and training

Motivation gets us started and habit keeps us training, sweet, sorted!

We all know that it’s not quite that simple, there are so many other life events that can get in the way.

Whether that’s work, family or other things, it’s easy to get side-tracked and fall into the notion that one missed workout won’t matter and whilst in the singular this is true it’s the potential for this to become the start of a pattern that we should be aware of.

Some of the tools we like to get peeps using include:

  1. Scheduling workouts
  2. Pre-preparing meals
  3. Organising the next day
  4. Turning up

Scheduling workouts sounds like a hammer to a nut, however, having a dedicated time to train, and a reminder set will help make it part of that day and set the importance of it. It’s so much easier to skip something that doesn’t have a place in our calendar…

Pre-preparing meals for those times when it would be so much easier to just grab something from the cupboard because time to prepare….. We’ve all been there. Having some bits prepared helps keep everything on an even keel.

Organising the next day, having things prepared doesn’t mean that they automatically happen, but gives us many more chances of that being the case! – having to hunt around for your trainers makes going to the gym a lot less appealing than them being out ready, same applies to food as well.

Turning up, probably the most important one of all, so many times I’ve started a workout not feeling it, only to complete it and feel great, wasn’t anywhere as bad as I thought it would be.

Whilst there might be a legitimate reason for easing back during a workout, the large majority of the time it isn’t so much that we can’t do it, more that we are low key looking for an excuse to skip it.

There’s a chance that we’ve encountered some of the above, at the end of the day nobody is perfect, we aren’t looking to point fingers, more notice the trend and take action to correct it and stay (or get back) on track.

If you’d like help with forming positive habits and reaching your goals, speak to one of the team at SF on info@spikefitness.co.uk

Efficient Programming

In the ideal world everything we do is immediately the quickest and fastest route and solution, what a wonderful place that would be indeed!

Alas, we know that the first couple of times we undertake a task, create a solution it is always superseded by a faster and more efficient method…

You know, like sending a letter, weeks into days into instantly.

We went from posting letters, to next day delivery to email, the first solution of posting wasn’t and still isn’t bad, it’s just that email is that much more efficient.

In terms of programming, we can use it to get results faster but maybe not next day and certainly not instantly! I always refer to this as people expecting an Amazon Prime body!

Efficiency in programming can be looked at in a few different ways, as a brief example, this could be having complimentary workouts, a lower body and upper body routine for example. Allowing for workouts on concurrent days.

We could also have a time based solution, for example a short, medium and full program if we have a client that cannot guarantee the amount of available time to train.

Additionally, we can vary the intensity to match other aspects of peoples lives, a good example would be someone who undertakes an activity at a specified time. This could be triathlons, football, swimming, where the activity is at a confirmed date and time. The program would have to work around this and have higher and lower intensity sessions based on those predetermined dates and times.

So in a nutshell, the makeup of our program(s) needs to dovetail into our goals, activities and available time.

Efficiency is therefore paramount to successfully reaching our goals.

To see how we can help with programming for your goals, contact us on info@spikefitness.co.uk

MAPPING OUT YOUR GOALS

When looking at our goals, whether this be for our New Year’s resolutions or at any other time, writing them down has proven to increase the chances of success.

Along with this, having a clear plan can help keep us on track, assist with motivation and ultimately building habit – a bit more on that later in the month.

Breaking down the term mapping out, in its most basic form, would see it in a very clinical and/or linear light. What we really mean is the how….

Let’s look at an example:

Run 5k in under 35 minutes

So, we would like to get faster at running, we get faster at running to meet the goal – simple, next example or maybe not so fast!

In order to achieve this goal, what do we really need to do? Or in this context, how do we meet this goal?

We can:

  • Train X amount per week
  • Mix our training to adapt to running faster (e.g. hill work, speed work, endurance work)
  • Incorporate some strength work to assist with the training volume and help prevent injury
  • Possibly lose any extra weight we may be carrying

There are plenty more we could add, however, this gives us a good idea of the goal not being one single activity.

By looking into the goal and then breaking it down, we can begin to see the parts that must align to allow us to reach that goal.

This directly feeds into other area’s such as habit building, for example, putting our running gear out before bed, if you are a morning runner or when you get up, if you are going after work.

Having a structure to our training, so we are incorporating elements that will allow us to move towards our goal, or in other words using all the tools at our disposal (another shameless plug for a future blog post!).

Understanding the parts that make up the goal can allow us to build a solid plan and make it much more achievable, realistic and successful.

If you have a goal and are looking for some help with mapping it out, contact us on info@spikefitness.co.uk

New Year New Me

It’s an age-old saying and one that carries with it lots of jokes, particularly in the fitness context. Yet every year there are many that stick to their New year’s resolutions and get to their goals. 

New year is actually a great starting time, start of the year, festivities behind us (maybe just a little tired from welcoming in the new year though….). 

All the positive optimism, turning over a new leaf with the New year can get us looking at changing everything, we typically see this a lot, people wanting to 180 their lives and work out 5 times a week whilst flipping the script on their diet etc. 

Maybe this is maintainable for a few weeks, a month even but after that…… we all know what happens…. 

So how do we avoid the a-typical pitfalls of our resolutions? 

I personally think that change a few small things every month allows us to slowly introduce positive steps and more importantly bed them into our normal routines. 

A quick example could be that for the first month I’m going to eat a nutritious breakfast every day and hit 10,000 steps each day.  

With some very simple planning, this can be easily managed. From there things will start to move forward in positive ways with little effort, after starting our day right, we will be less likely to want a naughtier lunch, we’ll start to automatically walk more than 10,000 steps becomes our normal daily count. We could go on, however I think we get the idea. 

So going back to our successful New year, new me peeps how do they manage to do it? 

  • They create goals that are mapped out and usually written down (we have a much higher rate of success if we write our goals down). 
  • They use efficient programming, this is that they have a structured workout routine which they follow. 
  • They create a habit of exercising and gibe themselves the best chance of success 
  • They use all the tools at their disposal. 

We’ll be covering all of these over the next few weeks with some ideas and tips to give you the best chance for your New Year’s goals. 

If you want to get a head start, pop us a message on info@spikefitness.co.uk, and we can help to work through your goals and aspirations with you. 

Healthy Living

Whether it’s a crisp winter stroll, a long dog walk with the family, housework or a session in the gym, physical exercise plays a huge part in living a healthy lifestyle.   

Health, Wellness and Wellbeing is a combination of a physical, social and mental state, exercise is a great way to target all three of these, you will have physical activity, attending one of our small group classes is a great way to socialise and exercise in general is a great stress reliever and has great benefits to help with mental state.  

Not everyone wants to run a marathon, cycling 100’s of miles or lift large weights! If you do though we take our hat off to you! 

Sometimes, especially in the current day and age, we assume that we should be doing this, that and the other to be of ‘average’ fitness – I’ve already given my thoughts on that so consider it parked! 

Getting outside, going for a stroll is wholly underrated, it’s available 24/7 open to everyone. Not only is it a great workout, but we can also use it to unwind, think over the day and keep our heart healthy. 

Stretching, so often associated with the end of a workout, it’s benefits for our body are also overlooked. Stretching helps maintain mobility and flexibility of our bodies. This can be used to assist us as we age and increase our performance whether that’s walking or resistance training. 

Being active is just that, active. Find activities that get your heart rate up and that you enjoy. We are much more likely to continue them if we do. Consistency is key and enjoyment will make it all the more easier. 

 For more information contact a member of team SF today. Call 07597215652 or email info@spikefitness.co.uk 

Workouts over the festive period

The Christmas period is one of the best of the year, but it is also one of the hardest to stay fit and healthy. You are at your busiest socially, your spare time is taken up with Christmas shopping and getting everything ready for the big day. The pounds pile on and progress toward fitness goals is lost – it’s why everyone hits the gym in January after all.  

But it doesn’t have to be this way! By keeping fit during the festive season, you’ll keep up with your goals and you will be in a much better position come January.  

We got a few ideas below, obviously these come with all of the usual caveats, you should ensure it’s safe for you to exercise and perform these prior to starting…. 

Advent stairs challenge 

Each day of December climb and descend your stairs to match the day number. No stairs? – 20 high knees for each day  

No rocket science needed for this to work out that NYE will be 31 trips up and down! 

Remember, this can be a simple walk or made a bit faster, we draw the line at suggesting safety equipment during this task, just ensure you are travelling at a safe speed and mind out for small humans and animals. 

Step to it! 

350,000 steps in a month? – that’s and extra 1300 (ish) steps a day. 

Aim to complete your 10,000, then the extra, or add a walk in with family/friends. You could take the long route to the shops or work (if you can walk). 

Even better you could plan it out to be ahead of schedule and see if you can get over 350,000! 

Squat a-lot 

Let’s keep that Bum in good shape over Christmas! Follow the below table to increase you squats and work those glutes. The daily amount can be broken down into sets if doing them all together is challenging. 

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 
10 15 20 Rest 20 25 30 
       
Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14 
35 40 45 Rest 45 50 55 
       
Day 15 Day 16 Day 17 Day 18 Day 19 Day 20 Day 21 
60 65 70 Rest 70 75 80 
       
Day 22 Day 23 Day 24 Day 25 Day 26 Day 27 Day 28 
85 90 95 Rest 95 100 105 
       
Day 29 Day 30 Day 31     
110 115 120     

So there is a few ideas that can help keep you on track over Christmas that are easy to fit in or that other can join in with. 

You could even pick a couple of them such as the squats and step challenge if you wanted to do a little more. 

If you would like something tailored to you, contact Team SF on info@spikefitness.co.uk 

Finding time to exercise

We get it, so many parties, so many extra’s going around at work and it’s the most hectic time for us socially. So how do we fit it all in? 

Small, frequent exercises that we can add in or use whilst doing other activities such as: 

Morning walks 

Bedtime stretching  

Making use of classes 

Getting our exercise in first thing will mean it’s ticked off and out of the way before the day starts and the tasks start piling up! 

Aiming to get 10,000 steps per day is a great way of keeping up activity levels without having to carve out lots of time during the day. 

Getting those closest to you involved, catch up over a walk or even do mini circuit together – just make sure to do more circuit than talking…. 

We’re not saying that everyday must be a workout day, or that you need to earn your Christmas dinner before you have it, more so, to help stay on top of our exercise to ensure we are able to get back into a normal routine once the festive season has passed. 

Having a plan to enable us to fit some moderate activity in will make return to normal easier, help us to feel less guilty about the extra food and keep that spring in our step 

For more information about how to stay active over the festive period contact Team SF info@spikefitness.co.uk  

Managing Stress

We all have some stressors in our lives, these may come from work, our current life situations or our personal lives.

This article doesn’t seek to investigate each of these, or indeed suggest what can be done to ultimately resolve them, more on how we can manage and relieve some of these via exercise.

Exercise can help to burn off nervous energy and whilst it won’t remove stress, it can help to dial down the intensity of it.

Exercise can also bring positive points to your day, this might be completing a certain walking or running distance, a new record in a specific lift or even completing a workout that was scheduled.

Having a planned exercise window can help to break up the day, allow for some positive thinking time and allowing yourself to focus on your achievements.

All whilst:

Releasing endorphins, exercise helps ramp up production of these feel good hormones.

Removing your mind from the days irritations, completing a workout, playing a sport or concentrating on some stretching can help break the day up and bring back some calm while providing some extra positive energy.

Improving your mood, exercise can increase self-esteem, assist with sleep and help us feel in command of our body – all of which are affected by stress.

When using exercise to help manage stress, we should ideally choose activities that we enjoy, look to find someone else to do it with and schedule it in for the best results.

If you would like some more information on how exercise can help with managing stress, speak to Team SF info@spikefitness.co.uk

Habit and Motivation

Is there such a thing as a shortcut or a quick fix?


Sure, in some instances there is, we had a leak in the gym 2 days before opening, quick fix turn off the water. Did it solve the issues? No!


How about looking at it as willpower vs dedication? I often think about willpower as a short burst solution. It has a very short shelf-life, it’s finite and eventually runs out.

Let’s couple this with fitness and see how each affect us reaching our goals.


Willpower and motivation will get you started for sure, and I add that they should not be underestimated. What happens when they start to disappear?


You stop!!


Or


You’ve created a habit and are dedicated to achieving your goals!!


That sounds pretty blunt, and sure it may be that it starts with the odd missed workout, increase of not-so-great food. The result is the same, we end up back at the start of the cycle.


My question to you is, can you use dedication to create the habits to get past a loss of willpower and get the results you want?

Let’s take the example of going for a run first thing in the morning, I’ll keep it overly simplistic: You need to get up earlier and get ready, immediately our brain will tell us that equals us being rushed and more tired at the end of the day.

Let’s flip that: You get all of your gear ready the night before, place it near you, and go to sleep 45 minutes earlier.

Solves the above problems I would say, sure you’ve still got to get up and do it, but you also get the same amount of sleep, and you aren’t fumbling around for your gear.

It also adds dedication to the activity you have signed up for it, you have set the groundwork.


Now, that’s not to say some days you aren’t going to be feeling it, this could be either your body telling you to rest, or that it is time to double down on your dedication to your goals.

Habits are built over time and become ingrained, dedication is needed to get to that point.

When it’s time to put in the work, do not hesitate, do the work!!

If you’d like to know more about building successful habits, speak to a member of Team SF Info@spikefitness.co.uk

Regular Exercise

There plenty of reasons to undertake regular exercise, in this post I wanted to look at some in more depth. We continue to learn more and more about how exercise improves our lives, and in recent years, particularly how these benefits form part of our overall wellbeing.

Starting your day off right begins with having a good nights sleep, and whilst we all might fancy a little lie down after a workout, it does go a little deeper than that!

Undertaking regular exercise makes us less sleepy during the day, this is due to:

Increase in core body temperature, when our body gets warmer it’s a natural alarm clock, telling itself it’s time to be awake.

Metabolism speeding up to fuel our muscles during exercise.

Increase in cortisol (hormone) – triggers our flight or fight response, it also helps with blood pressure, tissue repair and our circadian rhythm. Ideally, we want higher levels in the mornings, lowering throughout the afternoon and lowest when we are winding down for the evening.

It’s important to note here, that ideally exercise should be tapered towards bedtime, moving towards stretching, yoga and lower impact activities the closer to bedtime we get.

Numerous studies have linked exercise to an improved slow wave (deep) sleep and speed of falling asleep, these studies have also noted that 30 minutes of exercise can have a direct impact on that evening’s sleep rather than having to wait weeks or months for results (abs are you hearing this??).

Getting a good night of sleep moves us nicely onto our next section, increased energy levels, it’s no secret that we feel good after a workout, this is largely due to an increase in endorphins, however, there are some other things happening:

Increased oxygen supply – increased oxygen supply allows better energy production and increased efficiency of this energy.

Increased cardiovascular health – leading to better endurance throughout the day.

Sharper focus – over time, our ability to focus is increased through exercise.

The ability to undertake daily tasks with better endurance allows us to have energy left over for other activities as well as performing those tasks with a greater degree of ease, making this less taxing and more enjoyable.

When our daily lives are a little easier, we are able to take things in our stride, helping to take the pressure off and reduce our overall stress levels.

More and more studies have linked exercise to psychological benefits, including a reduction in anxiety and depression.

We can look at this in 2 ways, firstly the benefits to our body, aerobic exercise burns off adrenaline and cortisol (remember the sleep bit earlier) these are replaced with endorphins which are our natural pain relief and mood elevators.

Secondly, physical changes to our bodies help increase our feel good factor, this isn’t limited to our shape, but also our ability to perform, increased endurance in an activity or the ability to perform some which we couldn’t before.

Additionally, exercises also keeps our mind active, whilst active and concentrating on the workout, we are distracted from the daily thoughts.

Our overall health can benefit so much from regular exercise, these are just 3 of the many, many reasons to take up regular exercise.

The great news is that we can also start with taking small walks and then progress as we feel more confident.

If you would like to know how we can help you get into (or back into) regular exercise speak to a member of Team SF info@spikefitness.co.uk