How To Stay Focused and Consistent With Your Exercise


Trust me I know that sometimes getting to the gym isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Some people are intimidated by it, many have not made full use of it and don’t want to waste anymore money on it and some people never seem to find the time.

Doing something rather than nothing is half the battle, so surely it’s easier to just exercise at home? 

Well, sort of. Although your own home is massively convenient, it can be hard to stay motivated when you’re surrounded by a host of temptations or more precisely excuses such as TV, internet, coffee, reading etc.

So to help you resist these cheeky little temptations, stop making excuses and get a damn good sweat going at home, here are seven simple and effective tips for people just like you with real lives, real jobs, and really busy schedules that will help to keep your attention focused training at home, even when you really don’t feel like it and keep you on track.

1. Find Types of Exercise That You Really Enjoy Doing and Use Technology
The most important thing you can do is find a type of exercise you’re actually going to enjoy doing at home. Some forms of training such as weight training, power lifting etc that rely on lots of equipment aren’t really workable unless you have a big garage or a spare room, and the money to buy the kit in the first place. Thankfully there’s plenty of awesome choices at your finger tips that give you access to an endless amount of at-home exercise options that don’t have to cost a fortune.

Take a bit of time to think about what you enjoy doing, think about what types of activities you enjoy, what reason/s are you training for and then do some research. There are thousands of fitness apps and websites that transform your phone into a personal trainer to live stream videos that turn your living room into a fitness studio, there are plenty of ways to get guidance, motivation, and variety. With a little bit of internet research and soul-searching, you can easily find a training routine that will work for you. Some quick examples are:

Apps:
Virtual Trainer
MadBarz
BarStarzz
Aaptiv

Websites/Online Groups
SFit – free Closed Facebook Group that I run providing exercise, nutrition and psychological guidance and tips
MadBarz
BarStarzz

The key to it is finding something you love doing, this means you won’t even want to look for excuses no tot train then because you want to do it, and you’ll enjoy the process.” 

Need added motivation this winter? Aaptiv is a new app that offers audio-only workouts from top trainers set to music you love. Classes range from strength training and HIIT workouts to yoga and running, so you’ll always find something you love.
Available at aaptiv.com.

2. Book appointments with yourself to train. 
When you have important appointments you put them in your calendar on your phone etc and set reminders so you can’t forget, I certainly do, well, the same goes for your workouts. I schedule them like they’re an appointment. Prioritising your training sessions by blocking out time on your calendar and then planning your days and weeks around those blocks is a key element in creating consistency and continuity in training that will get you the results you want.

3. Organise a space at home. 
The sometimes awkward part about training at-home is that obviously your home is not a gym. If you happen to have a gym in your home, lucky you. If you’re like me your car never gets into the garage because that’s where I have my training kit, if you don’t have a garage then you’ll need to make whatever space you have work for you. That might mean setting up a mini gym in your bedroom, spare room etc or simply moving the coffee table over three inches to fit a yoga mat. Whatever you have to move/set up/dismantle, do it well before your scheduled workout (say, the night prior if you plan on getting up and training then), so there are no barriers or excuses.

4. Dress for business. 
Now more than ever, it’s acceptable to wear Lycra just about anywhere. Take advantage of the trend and throw on training clothes as soon as possible, at every given opportunity. Why? Well, research suggests that simply wearing your training clothes can help motivate you to exercise.

One of my clients says that, ”On workdays I come home and change into my training clothes before I do anything else, and on weekends I put them on first thing in the morning, that way I have no excuses later.”

5. Go public with it, afterwards. 
Wait a second before you get carried away. Before you tweet, message, Pin or gram your workout plans, read this: You’ll have a better chance of actually training if you keep them to yourself. A study has suggested that social recognition makes us less likely to follow through with our intentions. 

However, after you’ve smashed your workout, go for it and tell the world what you’ve just done. So after training take a photo or snap a sweaty selfie and you’ll find you work harder for that extra satisfaction of sharing your achievement afterwards. When you share your progress and accomplishments, you’ll build a small group of cheerleaders, and you can tap into that satisfied feeling the next time you’re motivation is in the ditch and your sitting on the fence about working out. 

6. Create your own incentives. 
It’s okay to use small rewards to persuade yourself to work out. Ideally these incentives should be healthy however, I’m realistic and so should you be, because sometimes you just need to satisfy that craving and reward yourself with something so tasty regardless of the content, so if it’s sometimes pizza, turkey chilli, or a salted caramel brownie, that’s okay too, because, balance is needed both physically and mentally and this reward can make all the difference.

Many of my clients say this same thing, they usually work out right after work, so they hold off on eating dinner until after they’ve smashed out a training session and that for them mentally, is a big reward.”

If food’s not your thing, treat yourself to a new pair of trainers, clothing or whatever works for you if you complete all your workouts for a month. 

7. Half a session. 
Sometime training at home feels and sounds like the worst idea, and when this happens negotiate with yourself. TelI yourself you’ll do half of what you had planned for that day and more often than not you’ll end up doing the full session anyway because all you really needed was to get started. And on the very few times you don’t finish? Well, at least you did half, and that’s much better than nothing at all. 

The Bottom Line
The best way to keep your motivation level up for training at home is to find a routine you really enjoy, this way your at-home training doesn’t feel like work. Then, control as many factors as you can to set yourself up for success and turn it into a habit. Of course the couch looks bloody good sometimes when you come home after a long day, but sinking into it will feel so much better after you’ve earned it. 

There’s More to Maintaining Your Ideal Body than Just Input and Output


For some reason, even with all the science and information available out there, diet and exercise are still the main focus of attention when it comes to fat loss. The thing is as important a part as they do play in the process, it’s just not as simple as “burn more calories than you consume.” I still meet people on a regular basis who live by this misguided rule, now I’m not saying it doesn’t work, however, it generally only works in the short to medium term, not indefinitely. It’s an outdated model because there’s so much more to fat loss than just diet and exercise.

During my research and development for my book I discovered a number of things that, when factored into your fat loss and maintenance programme, make a huge difference in your ability to achieve and hold onto your desired outcome. So here I want to share with you four key elements that I drill into all my clients from day one to ensure that they continue to make progress.

Sleeping Baby

1. Quality Deep Restorative sleep. Sleep Like a Baby.
Now I know some of you may be thinking, what is he on about, sleep is sleep. Well there is a big difference and there is a common misunderstanding about sleep, and that is how much do we need and also that it should be constant sleep throughout the night. When we sleep we go through different depths during a 90 minute cycle called the ‘Ultradian Rhythm’. What this means is that we drift off into a light sleep, drop down into REM or Dream Sleep and then into Deep Restorative Sleep and this is where your brain and body recharge, repair and restore themselves. Without this quality deep restorative sleep we can wake up more tired than when we went to bed because we have been dreaming too much and never getting into that deep sleep. When we remain in that light sleep and REM sleep states we can be interrupted by our dreams and by outside noises that bring us up into conscious awareness and break that natural sleep pattern. I want you to understand that this is a normal part of the cycle and it is why we don’t have 7-8 hours of completely uninterrupted sleep, we wake up and go back to sleep a few times throughout the night. What is really important is that we go into the Deep Restorative Sleep state and recharge, repair and restore. This is why sleep is one of the first things I discuss with a new client, because it really is that important.

If you’re really serious about optimising your health and/or losing fat, then you really need to pay more attention to your sleep patterns and habits and make changes here first before doing anything else in order to get maximum benefit from your training and nutrition.

If my client’s fat loss stalls and/or they’re losing momentum and energy, I don’t start analysing their nutrition plan or increasing their exercise frequency or intensity. I look at their sleep quality and quantity, and their chronic stress level to see where we can make some changes.

As a society we are chronically sleep-deprived and over-stressed. Individually these elements can cause severe health problems and hinder fat loss. When you combine them they are disastrous for your overall health and your fat loss goals

Have you noticed that when you are exhausted you feel hungrier than usual? This is not your imagination. Not getting enough sleep affects leptin and ghrelin, which are  your hunger hormones.

A consistent lack of sleep will make you hungrier and much more impulsive, and you will have an almost insatiable craving for high-carbohydrate foods. This makes avoiding the muffins and cakes at the coffee shop or turning down the bacon rolls at the office a nearly impossible feat. Being chronically sleep-deprived also significantly elevates your cortisol levels  and insulin resistance and this affects your fat loss and your overall physical and mental health.

If this doesn’t make you want to go to bed a bit earlier, another reason is that adequate sleep is also crucial for cognitive function, maintaining a positive outlook, and having a steady supply of energy so that you can keep up with your kids, run around with your dog, lift heavier weights, run faster/longer and all the other active things you love to do.

Reflective Questions:
• Am I getting quality deep restorative sleep each night within an average of 7 hours sleep?
• If not, what am I prepared to change to ensure I get that quality sleep? (For example: Stop watching TV in bed. No phones, kindles, iPads etc in the bedroom at night to avoid the temptation to stay up interacting with social media)

Train Smart

2. Don’t Train Harder, Train Smarter. That Includes Variety.
When I was serving in the Royal Marines, particularly during basic training, I couldn’t eat enough because the amount of physical exercise was phenomenal. It was almost impossible to consume enough calories in a day to match my output. The same thing happened when I was racing in Triathlons, the problem was that it increased my appetite so much that all wanted I to do was eat and sometimes I simply didn’t have the time.

I finally understood a few years ago that high-intensity, steady-state exercise is not the best model for me, it turns me into a black hole for food. It was potentially far too easy for me to “out-eat” my training, which meant I was breaking even at best and running myself into the ground.

I recommend to my clients applying the Minimum Effective Dose Model to their training. Meaning, I totally understand that you love exercise and it’s important that you do just enough to elicit the desired results while keeping your hormones happy and your appetite in check.

For most people (who train regularly), this typically means two or three heavy strength-training days, one or two short-duration HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions, and no more than a couple of moderate-intensity, steady-state cardio sessions per week.
Getting too aggressive with exercise and doing an obscene amount of cardio, spending hours in the weight room each day, or doing two-a-day training sessions can lead to a voracious appetite, run down your immune system and lead to overtraining, which I’m guessing is probably not in line with your goals.

Reflective Questions:

  •  Is any type of exercise that I’m doing increasing my appetite to the point that it may be sabotaging, instead of supporting, my goals?
  •  What kind of exercise can I do instead to see how that makes me feel? (Example: Instead of running for 45 minutes, how about trying 15 minutes of intervals? Instead of that 60-minute Spin class, how about breaking it up into two 30-minute moderate-intensity cardio sessions throughout the week?)

Healthy eating

3. Eat Food That You Enjoy, Is Nutritious and Fills you Up.
When you think of fat loss, do you think it means eating the same boring foods, every day? Chicken breast, sweet potato, broccoli, egg whites, oats, and protein powder, day in and day out?

This absolutely can work because there’s nothing nutritionally wrong with it, in fact it’s full of great nutrients. What I can promise you is this. It won’t work for long, unless you actually love to eat like this and truly feel satisfied. Generally we can only tolerate so much bland, boring food that we don’t necessarily enjoy before we frantically wave the white flag and dive into a pile of junk food, never to return to it again…until the next time we want to lose fat!!

The key to making  your nutrition a sustainable part of your lifestyle is to ensure that you love what you’re eating. You have to enjoy your food in order to be satisfied and for me food is meant to be enjoyed. If you force down a meal that you hate because someone told you or you read somewhere that this is the way to lose fat, there is a high probability that you’ll be raiding your cupboards and fridge afterward for something to satisfy your palate.

Emjoy your meal

Fortunately on the Internet, there are millions of recipes right at your fingertips. While it may take you 20 minutes to bake a week’s worth of bland chicken breasts, it would only take you an additional few minutes to whip up a tasty sauce for them, try a new seasoning blend, or another way of cooking them. You can bake, broil, roast, slow cook, grill, steam, or sauté your food into an explosion of flavour with just a tiny bit more thought and effort. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Reflective Questions:

  • Am I currently eating foods I can’t stand but eat them anyway because I feel like I’m “supposed” to?
  • What can I do to those foods, or what can I substitute, to make eating an enjoyable experience again?
  • Can I spare an extra 20 minutes per day to improve the taste of my food? ( The answer is yes by the way.)

4. Choose the Right Form of and Amount of Cardio.
Cardio is a funny thing. For a while, it’s all many people wanted to do. Thankfully, times have changed and in particular, women have embraced the empowering feeling and advantages of strength training. The only downside to that is that cardio has started to get kicked to the curb to a degree. Cardio, like most forms of exercise, can be a wonderful tool when used correctly.
Is cardio necessary for everyone who wants to get leaner? Not really. But if you find that you’re a bit stuck, incorporating a couple of sessions per week could help.

Moderate-intensity, steady-state cardio is a way to burn calories, sure. More importantly, it improves work capacity, which can mean improved training. It can also aid in recovery from your strength workouts.

This is not a pass for a cardio free-for-all. Whatever form of cardio you choose, please make sure you’re doing the type that keeps stress low and your hunger under control.

steeplechase-1033335__180cycling-840975__180

Reflective Questions:

  • What kind of cardio do I enjoy most? Walking, biking, cycling, swimming, rowing, running?
    Can I spare 20 minutes 2-3 times a week to incorporate some moderate-intensity cardio?
  • Am I prepared to do fasted cardio (train before eating to boost your fat burning capabilities) in the morning?
  • How did that cardio make me feel? Do I feel in control of my appetite? Do I feel energised? If the answer to those questions is yes, stick with it for a few weeks and see what changes you notice.

As you can see, when it comes to fat loss, there is more to the equation than simply restricting food intake and doing more exercise. If you find yourself stuck and not making any progress, take a look at these four things and see if making a few changes can help push you forwards and out of your rut.

As always, making changes in  your body begins with making changes in your brain in terms of how you think about and perceive all the different elements required to achieve your aim. Without starting with your brain and mind, you are almost certainly going to fail backwards at some point and have to start again and fall foul of the Yo-Yo process that millions of us get trapped in year after year.

One last but important note: Once you make a change, stick with it for at least four weeks, and then evaluate your progress before making any more changes.

For more advice and to find out about my Lifestyle Coaching Program that works your from the top down so that you make the changes in your brain/mind first setting you on the right path, with the right mindset right from the beginning, you can email me directly  at simon@simonmaryan.com

Have a fantastic weekend

Simon

Keys To Successful Fatloss Part 1: Introduction


The Effects of Cortisol On our Mind and Body


Depression

Over the last few months, I have been working more and more with stressed out people. I have been stunned at the age range to be honest as they have ranged from 10 – 80 years old.

I began to notice the increase early this year when many people started being made redundant in the Oil and Gas Industry in Aberdeen, where I am based. The downturn has created a huge amount of uncertainty which has lead to people feeling nervous, anxious, stressed and depressed and the knock on effects are quite significant. Many of my clients this year, on top of the initial stress have become insomniacs, they have either lost or gained large amounts of weight, have unexplained aches and pains, erratic mood swings, failed relationships…the list goes on.

This turns into a vicious circle, because the initial cause of the stress is still there and then the additional physical, mental and emotional symptoms add more stress into the mix and obviously compound the whole situation.

I have also recently started working with schools in Aberdeenshire running Stress Perception Workshops for both staff and pupils. It seems that the Curriculum for Excellence is creating and excellently high level of stress for all concerned and some pupils are becoming more and more stressed, depressed, suicidal and some resorting to self harming.

The self harming has also become something of a trend and there is a certain element of peer pressure to conform, and as you can imagine, this pressure is highly stressful for someone who really has no desire to self harm in the first place, yet in order to fit in they feel they have to run with the herd. This level of stress is extremely detrimental to the pupils ability to focus, concentrate, learn and absorb in formation and to remember it, this then adds more stress because they either feel they can’t pass they exams or they actually fail them. Pressure upon pressure upon pressure, until they break.

So after doing much reading, I have written this post today that I hope will help some of you to some degree or other and/or, perhaps help you help someone else.

STRESS
The stress hormone, cortisol, is a sneaky, insidious little bugger that creeps up on you. Even low levels over a long period of time can have hugely detrimental affects on your entire system of body and mind. Scientists have known for years that increased cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… and the list is significantly longer.

Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels are also responsible for an increased risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy. Recently two separate studies were published in Science linking elevated cortisol levels as a potential trigger for mental illness and decreased resilience—especially in adolescence.

You can find research papers here:
http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sciencejournals&y=0&fulltext=Stress%20and%20mental%20illness&x=0&journalcode=sci&journalcode=sigtrans&journalcode=scitransmed&submit=yes

Our body releases cortisol through the adrenal glands in response to fear or stress as part of our fight-or-flight mechanism. The fight-or-flight mechanism is part of the general adaptation syndrome defined in 1936 by Canadian biochemist Hans Selye of McGill University in Montreal. He published his findings in a short seventy-four line article in Nature, in which he defined two types of “stress”: eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress).

Both eustress and distress release cortisol as part of this general adaption syndrome. As soon as our fight or flight alarm system signals our body to release cortisol, your body becomes mobilised and ready for action, however, there has to be a physical release of fight or flight. Otherwise, cortisol levels build up in the blood which wreaks havoc on your mind and body.

Eustress creates a “seize-the-day” heightened state of arousal, which is exciting, invigorating and often linked with an achievable goal. Cortisol returns to normal when we’ve completed the task. Distress, or free floating anxiety, doesn’t provide any outlet for the cortisol and causes the fight-or-flight mechanism to backfire. Ironically, our own biology, which was designed to insure our survival as hunters and gatherers, is actually sabotaging our own bodies and minds in this sedentary, technology oriented age. So what can we do to put the pin back in this socially engineered hand grenade?

Fortunately, there are a few simple lifestyle choices you can make that will help you to reduce your stress, anxiety and lower your cortisol levels. Below are some tips to help you reduce your cortisol levels:

1. Regular Exercise: Martial arts and any martial arts based exercise classes, boxing, sparring, or a punching bag are fantastic ways to recreate the “fight” response by letting out aggression (without beating the crap out of anyone) and to reduce cortisol.
Any aerobic activity, like walking, jogging, swimming, biking etc are great ways to recreate the ‘flight’ outlet and burn-up cortisol.  A little bit of cardio goes a long way. Just 20-30 minutes of activity most days of the week pays huge dividends by lowering cortisol every day and in the long term.

I recommend a short burst of HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. There are an abundance of training methods under this banner and you can find a host of them on Youtube. This gets your heart rate up high, gives minimal rest and puts your body and mind under pressure. The pay off is that your body also releases endorphins which make you feel good, so this is a form of Eustress (good stress) and is highly beneficial for you both physically and mentally.

Fear increases cortisol. Regular physical activity will decrease fear by increasing your self-confidence, resilience, and fortitude, which will reduce your cortisol levels. Yoga will have similar benefits with added benefits of mindfulness training.

If your schedule is too hectic to squeeze in a continuous exercise session, you can build up the same benefits by breaking daily activity into smaller doses. A simple way to guarantee regular activity is to build your normal routine activity into your daily exercise routine. Where possible start riding a bike to work, walking to the shops and walk at lunchtime, this also gets you out of the office and away from your desk and will get you thinking about other things instead of work. Use the stairs instead of the escalator or the lift.If you normally eat your lunch at your desk, maybe you could go to the gym at lunchtime and eat your lunch at your desk afterwards instead. All these things will add up and help you to reduce your cortisol levels throughout the day.

2. Mindfulness and Self Hypnosis: Any type of meditation will reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels. Simply taking a few deep breaths engages the Vagus nerve which triggers a signal within your nervous system to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and decreases cortisol. The next time you feel yourself in a stressful situation that activates your ‘Fight-or-Flight’ response take 10 deep breaths and feel your entire body relax, calm down and slow down.

Setting aside 5-15 minutes to practice mindfulness meditation or self hypnosis will develop a sense of calm throughout your nervous system, mind, and brain. There are many different types of meditation. “Meditating” doesn’t have to be a sacred or tree huggey experience. I’m often asked as to specifically what kind of meditation or self hypnosis do I use and how do I do it/use it. There are so many techniques/methods and to be honest it is best to explore and find what works for you and then refine it and make it your own. I suggest that you do more research, and fine-tune a daily meditation/self hypnosis routine that fits your schedule and personality.

3. Social Connectivity: Two studies have been published in the journal Science illustrate that social agression and isolation lead to increased levels of cortisol in mice that trigger a cascade of potential mental health problems—especially in adolescence.

Follow the link here to find theses papers and many more:
http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sciencejournals&y=0&fulltext=Social%20aggression%20and%20isolation&x=0&journalcode=sci&journalcode=sigtrans&journalcode=scitransmed&submit=yes

A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins established that elevated levels of cortisol in adolescence change the expression of numerous genes linked to mental illness in some people. They discovered that these changes in young adulthood, which is a crucial time for brain development, could cause severe mental illness in those predisposed to it. These findings, reported in the January 2013 journal Science, could have wide-reaching implications in both prevention and treatment of schizophrenia, severe depression and other mental illnesses.

Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his team set out to simulate social isolation associated with the difficult years of adolescence in human teens. They found that isolating mice known to have a genetic predisposition for mental illness during their adolescence triggered ‘abnormal behaviours’ that continued even when returned to the group. They found that the effects of adolescent isolation lasted into the equivalent of mouse adulthood.

https://bbrfoundation.org/scientific-council/akira-sawa

“We have discovered a mechanism for how environmental factors, such as stress hormones, can affect the brain’s physiology and bring about mental illness,” says Sawa, the study leader. “We’ve shown in mice that stress in adolescence can affect the expression of a gene that codes for a key neurotransmitter related to mental function and psychiatric illness. While many genes are believed to be involved in the development of mental illness, my gut feeling is environmental factors are critically important to the process.”

To shed light on how and why some mice got better, Sawa and his team studied the link between cortisol and the release of dopamine. Sawa says the new study suggests that we need to think about better preventative care for teenagers who have mental illness in their families, including efforts to protect them from social stressors, such as neglect. Meanwhile, by understanding the flood of events that occurs when cortisol levels are elevated, researchers may be able to develop new compounds to target tough-to-treat psychiatric disorders with fewer side effects.

In another study, published on January 18, 2013 in the journal Science researchers from France revealed that mice who were subjected to aggression, by specific mice bred to be ‘bullies’ released cortisol which triggered a response that led to social aversion to all other mice. The exact cascade of neurobiological changes was complex but also involved dopamine. The researchers found that if they blocked the cortisol receptors that the ‘bullied’ mice became more resilient and no longer avoided their fellow creatures.

Close knit human bonds, whether it be family, friendship or a romantic partner, are vital for your physical and mental health at any age.  Recent studies have shown that the Vagus nerve also responds to human connectivity and physical touch to relax your parasympathetic nervous system.

The “tend-and-befriend” response is the exact opposite to “fight-or-flight”. The “tend-and-befriend” response increases oxytocin and reduces cortisol. Make an effort to spend real face-to-face time with loved ones whenever you can, however, even phone calls and Facebook can reduce cortisol if they foster a feeling of genuine connectivity.

4. Have Fun and Laugh Often: Having fun and laughing reduces cortisol levels. Dr. William Fry is an American psychiatrist who has been studying the benefits of laughter for the past 30 years and has found links to laughter and lowered levels of stress hormones. Many studies have shown the benefits of having a sense of humor, laughter and levity. Try to find ways in your daily life to laugh and joke as much as possible and you’ll lower cortisol levels. Watch your favourite comedy movie, favourite comedian or anything on Youtube for example that makes you laugh, feel good and happy, as this will begin to reduce your cortisol levels.

5. Music: Listening to Music that you love, and fits whatever mood you’re in, has been shown to lower cortisol levels. We all know the power of music to improve mood and reduce stress. Add reducing your cortisol levels as another reason to keep the music playing as a soundtrack of health and happiness in your life.

6. Quality Nutrition: What we eat and the quality of that food is important when life is good and we’re happy and content. When life throws a curve ball at you and you’re stressed, depressed, anxious and nervous, it is even more important to eat high quality nutrition.

Society has change much in recent years and life and work is becoming faster paced, we often look for the quick, easy and convenient option for food which is not necessarily the best option. So, to combat this, it is beneficial for you to look at high quality nutritional supplements that help to keep the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety at bay. When you feel good on the inside it makes you much more capable of dealing with the stresses of the outside world and one of the downsides of eating too much wheat, soft drinks, caffeine, alcohol etc, is that it puts your body’s PH out of balance and leads you into an acidic state. When your body is too acidic it promotes the growth of unhealthy bacteria, virus, fungus etc in your gut and causes joint pain and inflammation of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Also our gut becomes unable to fully and efficiently absorb the nutrients from the food we eat, which further runs down our immune system and metabolism.

When you redress that balance and return it to a slightly alkaline state, as you can see in the image below, our bodies return to a state of equilibrium that allows our gut to absorb nutrients efficiently and effectively which means we get everything we need to stay in the optimum state of health.

PH Range

Conclusion
The ripple effect of a fearful, isolated and stressed out society increases cortisol levels across the board for all of us and this creates a public health crisis and a huge drain on the economy. So, if we all work individually, and together, to reduce cortisol our levels we will all benefit and we will reduce the amount of stress hormones flowing around in our society and in individual lives.

In short, when we feel socially connected, safe, and self-reliant it reduces our cortisol levels. I hope the top tips presented above will help you make lifestyle choices that reduce your own levels of stress hormone and help you to help your friends, family work colleagues and perhaps even some strangers to reduce theirs and feel happier and healthier.

References:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1

http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sciencejournals&y=0&fulltext=Stress%20and%20mental%20illness&x=0&journalcode=sci&journalcode=sigtrans&journalcode=scitransmed&submit=yes

http://www.sciencemag.org/search?site_area=sciencejournals&y=0&fulltext=Social%20aggression%20and%20isolation&x=0&journalcode=sci&journalcode=sigtrans&journalcode=scitransmed&submit=yes

https://bbrfoundation.org/scientific-council/akira-sawa

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201312/why-is-the-teen-brain-so-vulnerable

Brain2Body Lifestyle Nutrition & Exercise Manual – 2nd Edition coming soon!!


brain2body-cover

I have been working on the 2nd edition of my Lifestyle Nutrition and Exercise Manual, with the main focus having been on updating the supplements section later on in the book. This now emphasises health supplementation as opposed to more sports based supplements in the 1st edition and this update is based heavily on my research into this form of supplementation.

Having health issues myself, I have wanted to find ways to enhance my bodies’ ability to recover, repair and regenerate and what I found really made me smile, and feel good. So, I am almost ready to get this new version published and I will keep you all posted when it is ready.

Thanks again to everyone who bought the 1st edition and I am confident that you will find this new edition enlightening as well.

Simon

Effective Goal Setting for Success


I was watching the news early this morning and they were talking to the CEO of Fitness First and discussing how gym membership increases at this time of year yet they struggle to keep retention at the same rate throughout the year.

New years resolutions are a great idea in theory and a big part of why they fall to the wayside is because they are unplanned. Many of us have these intentions and rush out to renew or take out a new gym membership without really taking the time to think about what it is we want from it and how we’re going to achieve our goal. Now I know that you rely on the gym staff to play a big part in that, however, how much help do you really get.

The CEO was talking about how they have changed their contracts to allow more flexibility and not tie people in as  much as they used to and they are retraining their staff to help their members make the best use of the facilities and get value for money through regular and consistent attendance. This is Fitness First looking at it’s goals, reassessing and rewriting them in order for them to achieve their goals and be successful, why should you be any different.

While Fitness First updates their goals and their plan, it will certainly help people towards achieving their goals, however, without actually sitting down yourself and going through a structured process that will allow you to:

  • discover what you want to achieve
  • what’s important about that for you
  • what will you have to do differently
  • what will you have to give up
  • what will it give you
  • create a step by step plan of short terms goals that will give you constant encouragement that you’re on the right path

This will keep you motivated as will having a visualisation in your mind of what it is you want to achieve and practicing this visualisation every day and each time you practice it will add in more detail. Over time this will develop into  a deep set image that is burnt into your mind and builds an emotional connection with the end result, because as you achieve your short term goals, you can tick them off your goals sheet that you will have already created and also mentally tick them off.

In the Free Stuff tab under the photo at the top of my blog, you will find a free ‘Setting Effective Goals’ pdf that is available until the end of this weekend, after that it will be replaced with other things to help you. Grab a copy now and read through a couple of times before you get stuck in and put it into practice. It is detailed and in-depth and will enable you to create some incredible goals that will have deep meaning for you, huge value and that will stretch your comfort zone outwards, and all this will massively boost your confidence and self-belief.

If you get stuck you can email me on simon@simonmaryan.com and arrange a Skype coaching session to get you up and running.

Have fun with it and enjoy creating your future with a purpose.

Simon 🙂

 

General perception of weight loss/fat loss


I have been involved in physically training other people for around 25 years now, I started before there were any real governing bodies and I signed up to REPS, The Register of Exercise Professionals, from its inception and have been an Advanced Level 4 Trainer for the last 15 odd years. That combined with a BSc in Sports Psychology helped me enormously and over the last 10 years I have had much more success by starting the process with peoples minds and their perception of the many myths and legends disseminated by the fitness and diet industries.

It is almost as though many people are afraid of the word FAT, because it is all to common to talk about weight loss as opposed to fat loss. Weight in general terms is irrelevant, although their is a section of society where this is not the case because they are clinically obese and at huge risk of long term damage due to their excess weight. However, for the majority, they need to refocus their attention on how they look and how they feel about how they look.

When I work with clients, I begin with visualisation exercises to enable them to get a sense of how they want to look, how that feels and how long they realistically think it will take to reach. Most of my clients already have a pretty realistic idea of timescale and, once they get their heads around talking about fat loss, they find it much easier to create realistic and effective goals.

Now goal setting is hugely important and is one of  the key early elements in working with someones shift in mindset, because often people don’t really have a very clear idea at the beginning, it is a kind of vague and sometimes distant vision. By bringing that close and clear, it makes it much easier, along with the visualisation exercises to help that person set some simple and very effective targets to reach, while also building in flexibility to allow for a short plateau, unforeseen setbacks etc that happen in life.

Part of being that specific is consistently talking in terms of fat loss as opposed to weight and allowing clients to forget about the scales, educating them about body composition and how it will change and that leaner, toned muscle tissue will help them live a healthy and enjoyable life.

I run half-day goal setting workshops for the general public as well as trainers and I also run a 4 Day Sports Coaching Diploma that goes into great detail regarding the mindset of a client and how to change beliefs, perceptions and thinking patterns, which ultimately lead to a change in behaviour, for the better.

This is a big drive behind my latest brand of products, Brain2Body, because we are all driven by what goes on in our minds and when we learn how to us sit it, instead of it using us we can create a life that is far more enjoyable and satisfying than we ever thought possible.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.