January - Be The Best Version of You
January, more than any other time of year, is traditionally a time to reflect, and to think ahead about our goals and to look back at the past year. In 2020, we’re launching not only into a new year, but into a new decade – looking back at the past ten years.
The picture above is of me, exactly ten years ago, and today. The girl on the left, the me of a decade ago, was lost, depressed, overweight and anxious. I had lost touch with who I was, overwhelmed by motherhood, post-natal depression and a body that no longer felt like my own.
The girl on the right is me today: happy, healthy, confident and purposeful. And the diference iis down to one thing: exercise. It sounds simplistic, but very shortly after that first photograph was taken, I decided to run. My first run, around the block, left me red-faced and short of breath, with a migraine that lasted 5 hours. But I kept it up, and very quickly discovered a love of running – which represented freedom, headspace and a way of rediscovering myself, before it was about fitness.
Ten years on, I have run six marathons, qualified as a personal trainer and nutrition coach and, through my work, met Noel who I’m now married to and running Intelligent Fitness with! Discovering exercise that I loved and changing my nutrition to compliment my training made me feel better, which gave me the confidence to make the changes in my life that were needed.
If you could be the best version of you, who would you be?
You may not know the answer to this yet, but I can tell you some things about the journey which might surprise you:
- It IS a journey – not a destination. And it will last for the rest of your life.
- You don’t have to hate exercise – it’s not a punishment. You are allowed to find a nutrition and exercise plan that you enjoy and that is right for you.
- You DON’T have to do Dry January, become vegan for a month or do a gruelling six week transformation plan.
- Being thinner won’t make you feel better. Feeling better will make you feel better.
- Feeling better happens when you make small, sustainable changes to your diet and exercise.
- A good trainer and nutrition coach will be with you every step of the way, and be your strongest advocate.
I believe that I am the best person to help you on the journey to your best self, because I have been you. Ten years ago,I didn’t know the answer to the question above. Today, I do know.
The best version of me is the version of me who helps YOU to be the best version of you.
Christmas survival Guide
So here’s our 5-step survival guide to surviving Christmas party season!
Choose your celebrations wisely – whilst you might want to go to every party and gathering going, you don’t have to drink at each of them. You might not be able to survive the office Christmas party sober, you can probably get through that boring family gathering without alcohol – so give it a try. You’ll consume far fewer calories, make better food choices and sleep better, breaking the cycle of overconsumption.
Plan ahead with alcohol – lots of people accidentally get in over their depth with drinking at Christmas parties – your glass keeps getting topped up, there’s a free bar, you end up staying out much later than you intended. You have a general idea of your limits – have a total number of drinks in mind, keep track of what you are drinking and stick to it. Try and also have some soft drinks to slow down your alcohol intake, and know in advance what time you’re going to stop drinking altogether and either go home or switch to soda.
Have a plan when it comes to food, too – the main food event is usually a delicious lunch or dinner so enjoy that but try and keep away from that tin of chocolates in the office, or tray of canapes at the party. The occasional indulgent meal is a luxury but if you’re constantly eating rich food, it can feel more like an endurance event! Snack on healthy fruit, nuts, raw veg or rice cakes and savour the fancy meals. You don’t have to eat the chocolate “just because it’s there”; if people give you selection boxes or tins of choccies, melt them down, make rocky road or rice crispie cakes and give them away as gifts!
Hydrate! – drink plenty of water, and then drink some more! By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated to a degree, so get ahead of this by sipping water constantly. We all know that too much alcohol leaves us dehydrated, but did you know that even a small degree of dehydration can lead to slower reaction times, decreased mental clarity and poor food choices? So stay ahead of thirst and if possible take a daily electrolyte supplement with water to replace lost salts.
Supplement – if you’re not already taking a multivitamin supplement, now might be the time to consider it. Most people are deficient in something or other – a multivit helps keep your bases covered. If you’re drinking a lot of alcohol, an Omega 3 supplement would be a wise choice – usually in the form of cod liver oil, this supplement will help combat the inflammatory effects of alcohol. Magnesium is also worth considering – it combats the effects of cortisol, your natural stress hormone (your body will be under stress, especially if you are drinking a lot). It also helps with anxiety and poor sleep – also side effects of alcohol.
So that’s out five-step party season survival guide! Enjoy your Christmas festivities – and remember, this is a great time to start practicing some of the habits that you want to implement in January!
Noel & Meredith
December - Our Podcast
With only three weeks to go until Christmas, the countdown is on! For the next few weeks, it can be a challenge to stay on track with your nutrition and fitness; a lot of people find that once Christmas party season begins, and they are eating and drinking more than usual, fitness starts to slide as well. Knowing it’s a finite time and that in January you’ll get back on track again, it’s all too easy to go crazy for a couple of weeks, regret it and then feel the need to punish yourself in the New Year. It’s no wonder that January is often the busiest time of year for us in the gym!
As happy as we are to be busy in January, we try to help our clients to stay focussed and on track throughout December as well; the cycle of excess and punishment isn’t physically or psychologically healthy, and December is a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of consistency. Try to limit your “cheat” days with food and drink to the big occasions; find the time to fit in that walk or class as well as going to the office Christmas party; drink plenty of water and fill up on colourful fruits and vegetables instead of that chocolate selection box!
Our big news this month is that our podcast is now live! The Intelligent Fitness Podcast is now on Spotify and in our first episode, we discuss the quick fix six week training programmes that are aimed at everyone in January who is mentally beating themselves up about Christmas overindulgence. Is a six week training plan advisable, and if not why not? Head over to Spotify and have a listen to find out what we think!
Noel & Meredith
November - Making a Commitment
It was a wonderful day of celebration and recognition; of the blurring of lines between clients and friends, between biological family and “step” family, and it was a chance to take stock and reflect on where we are, how far we have come and how proud we are of our family.
As parents, we’re enjoying the challenges and rewards of being a blended family of six unique individuals. Many of the qualities we feel have been so important in bringing our two families together and in raising three teenagers and a pre-teen – kindness, diplomacy, empathy problem-solving (and a working knowledge of psychology and nutrition!) are also really important in the approach we take to our work. Working with clients in the gym is about more than just standing over them and dictating weights, reps and sets – it’s about seeing the person as an individual, and getting to really understand what works for them – and why.
We’ve found that our combined knowledge and differing areas of expertise on strength and conditioning, personal training, nutrition and wellbeing compliment each other perfectly. And our ability to work together on discovering and delivering solutions allows us to provide an overall package for our clients that is more than just the sum of its parts.
We often find ourselves having lengthy discussions about some aspect of training or nutrition that fascinates us or that has come up with clients or family; why is it that teenagers are so drawn to pizza and chocolate? What kind of strength and conditioning programme is really best for a long distance runner? Why are we all so drawn to six week body transformations in January?
It was only after we got married and were thinking about all this stuff – about clients and family and nutrition and training and psychology and wellbeing – that we realised that we absolutely needed to start a podcast. And this is how The Intelligent Fitness Podcast was born!
Noel and Meredith