Month: November 2016

fitspiration fitspo motivation fitness

The 10 Most Terrible #Fitspiration Posts

Social Media can be a great source of motivation and an excellent learning tool in the right hands. That said, it’s a free to access and is an unedited platform for anyone and everyone to use.

In recent years there’s been huge amounts of controversy surrounding ‘fitspiration’. Social media – particularly Instagram – is flooded with word-art layered over an irrelevant image purporting to give us the motivation we need to be able to get to the aesthetic we crave.

Whilst that doesn’t sound particularly damaging, the problem with ‘fitspiration’ is that in the absence of education (about fitness, nutrition and health), it can be severely misleading and lead the impressionable down a path of self-deprecation. It can also be so terrible that it’s actually humorous.

Here’s my pick of the worst #fitspiration quotes I’ve found to date:

“A year from now, I’ll be glad I started today”

A year from now I'll be glad I started today

A F**KING YEAR?! Quite frankly this is one of the least motivational quotes I’ve ever come across. Call me impatient, but if it’s going to take a whole year see any benefit from going to the gym then I’m not sure it’s going to be worth washing my hair that many times in a week.

 

Workout now so that next year everyone be like… HOLY SHIT!”

workout now so next year everyone be like holy shit

Everyone?!!! Wow. I hate to say it, but ‘everyone’ probably doesn’t really care that much whether you have one belly roll or two. Your Mum might notice if you drop a few pounds and your Nan might ask if you’re getting enough hot meals, but this hypothetical “everyone” probably doesn’t give a shit.

The people who do care and who might notice will see you in that year, so any changes will be much more subtle and less instantly impactful than if it had happened overnight. If you highlight it to people, they’ll probably be like “oh yeah. Well done.” Or “Shit I can’t believe that was you”. If however, you’re going to morph into world-renowned supermodel Adriana Lima in that year, then the “HOLY SHIT” would be quite legitimate.

“Wake up and Work out”

This little gem, besides being extremely insightful, is typically overlaid on top of an image of a semi-naked woman looking mildly greasy but who is nonetheless attempting to lift weights in a bikini with a full face of makeup and clip-in extensions, which immediately makes me question the relevance of the post.

What happens if I want to wake up, have a brew, watch some TV, eat some peanut M&Ms and then work out?!

Let’s face it, people who have to get up and go to work might have other priorities and sometimes working out has to be further down the list. If only life was a simple as ‘wake up and work our’. Jeez. If those were the only two things on my to do list I can promise you I would be fast, lean, ripped and super-bendy.

“Eat better, not less”

I’m pretty sure portion size comes into it somewhere. There’s no point consuming endless piles of fruit and vegetables, only to exceed your calorie and nutritional requirements for the day and give yourself the shits. Eating 20 apples in the place of a balanced diet is bollocks. Not only that, if you are eating too much then you actually should be eating less!

“Summer bodies are made in winter”

Summer bodies are made in winter

 

One of the worst realisations about adult life is that you actually need to keep an eye on your diet and fitness all year round, but denying yourself throughout winter won’t automatically mean you look like a supermodel once it’s warm enough to switch the heating off.

Personally I’m not prepared to give up pigs in blankets, advent calendars and hot cider over the festive period. That’s not to say I’ll abandon the gym and bury my face in the chocolate tin whilst hooked up to an IV of mulled wine either.

I’m not sure I know what a summer body is anyway.

Sweat is fat crying”

sweat is fat crying

I bet the face of ‘Sweat’ is really hurting. 

Both factually incorrect and disgusting, this quote associates exercise with punishment when a lot of the time it can be as enjoyable as the fat-torching results.

Don’t stop when it hurts, stop when you’re done”

THIS IS BAD ADVICE. Failing to recognise pain as a reason to stop exercising is how I ended up with shin splints, a pulled calf muscle and a suspected stress fracture. By all means, put some real effort in and work through the discomfort that we all know is supposed to happen during tough exercise, but if it’s hurting so much that it’s damaging your form then it’s probably not right.

I probably should have taken a break from training for half marathon No.1 when I was hobbling along dragging one leg behind me in a tube bandage. Yeah. Daft right?!

Listen to your body. If there is a pain which doesn’t stop when you do, then rest up or go and get it checked out!

“Because the next few months will go by no matter if you work out or not”

So what we’re saying here is that what I do in my life has no impact on the passage of time, and ultimately the passage of time is the progression along the timeline to death.

***Motivation Evaporating***

Whilst we cannot control time, we can optimise how we use it. This unfortunate turn of phrase purports to make us jam-pack our lives doing useful things, but whilst the statement isn’t necessarily wrong, it isn’t that motivational either.

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress you are still ahead of everyone who isn’t trying”

What have we to aspire to if the bar is set that low?

Let’s apply the same reasoning to my difficulties in baking a good cake. I could make the worst concoction in the world –so bad in fact that it gives everyone who eats it a headache, vomiting and diarrhoea simultaneously and that would be fine, because it’s better than not having a cake.

The possibility of being better than crap at something doesn’t motivate me to do anything I at least want to be ahead of a couple of people who are trying even if their version of trying is a bit half-hearted – that’s just human nature.

A 1 hour workout is just 4% of your day”

a 1 hour workout is 4% of your day

…except it isn’t, is it?!

Perhaps this is true if you’re unemployed or privileged enough not to require a wage. Let’s say our typical working adult starts with 24 hours. Take off 10 hours working and commuting (on a good day!). Take off another 8 hours for the recommended amount of sleep. Take of another hour for preparing and eating your evening meal. Without getting any housework done or engaging in any social or recreational activity with important people, the time available to the perpetually desk-bound is already reduced to 5 hours. Suddenly that critical hour is 20% of the day.

I agree that most people can fit exercise into their day (in fact I’ll wax lyrical about it in a future post) but it can be difficult and statements like this one undermines the commitment it takes.

 

It sounds like I’m berating everyone who posts on social media, but that isn’t the case.

There a lots of interesting and hard-working people who share snippets of their life through the lens of an iPhone and following them can be motivating, educational, inspirational and eye-opening.

The intended message here is to operate a bit of common sense.

F x

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Excuse: I Don’t Like Exercise

 

We’ve all faced times where we lack the motivation to do something which we rationally know is beneficial to us in some way. Exercise seems to be one area of our lives which we feel we can bypass with very little rational reasoning.

One of the worst excuses I’ve heard for living a super-sedentary life is ‘I would… but I don’t like exercise’.

In my opinion, this is less of an excuse and more of a lack of ability to recognise the significance of the problems associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. Essentially what you’re saying is you don’t value the outcome of exercise enough to suck it up and get on with it. 

There’s a good chance you don’t like going to work either, but you go because you need what you get in return – your pay. If there was no pay, most of us wouldn’t be doing the same jobs each day and certainly not for the extended periods that we do. We continue to do it because we need to be paid so we can afford to do the other things in life that we do enjoy.

Think of exercise and a healthy diet as the same. If you’re stuck in an unhealthy rut and you want to get out of it then you need to ‘go to work’ in order to get that benefit: the benefit of health. Health is the reward for your efforts in this area in the same way that money is the reward for your efforts in employment.

Besides that, unless you’re willing to try new things, you’ll never stumble across something active that you actually do enjoy.

Your version of exercise doesn’t need to be running, or mindlessly sitting on an exercise bike. If you’re the type of person who feels their soul being dragged from their body the moment you enter a gym (I know plenty of those people), then you need to tap into your creative side.

Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 14.36.09.png

Yep, That’s Me. Mindless Pedalling on a Bike.

There’s loads of activities that will get your heart racing and that are fun and definitely don’t feel like ‘exercise’. Yes, including that, you saucy little thing.

Let’s consider some of the more unusual types of exercise:

Trampolining

There’s a load of trampolining centres popping up across the country where you can turn up, put on some grippy socks and leap around like a 6 year old. Not only is this exercise in disguise, it’s also a ridiculous amount of fun and if you master a forward flip, it will leave you feeling like a badass ninja. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like that!

DISCLAIMER: Perhaps avoid this if you have a weak pelvic floor, as I imagine peeing yourself in the middle of a backflip isn’t such a good look.

Twerking in the Kitchen

There have been many occasions throughout my life where I have been under a trance, jumping around the room under the hypnotic trance of some of my favourite tunes, before stopping and realising I’m actually sweating. Sometimes I get through a whole album before I even realise what I’ve been doing. I had simply been in the zone.

Did it look good? Probably not, because I’m an accountant and not renowned for my technical dancing prowess. That said, it’s vital movement in an otherwise sedentary day and therefore I’m going to claim it as exercise!

SnowSports

I learnt to snowboard a few years ago in a real-snow indoor ski centre off the M60 in Manchester, where I’m now learning to Ski. Whilst this isn’t exactly as glamorous as Whistler (I imagine, given I haven’t been there), it gave me the basic skills.

A few years later I found myself in Geneva with a spare day along with a group of family and friends, so we got in the car and drove over to Les Gets in France where we purchased board pants, hired boots and boards and hit the slopes. I spent a lot of the first hour on my ass, or face planting into the snow. After I remembered how to board, I tried a few runs down the slopes. At one point I was so warm that I had to strip off layers and stop for a cold beverage.

The point is, boarding can be quite a strenuous activity, especially when you’re regularly picking yourself up off the floor. The best bit is that you’re concentrating so hard on where you’re heading and enjoying the adrenaline so much that you barely even realise that you’re actually ‘exercising’ for several hours consecutively!

Any Outdoor Pursuit…

Have you ever considered horse-riding? Having an allotment and planting vegetables? Going for countryside walks? Digging a tunnel to nowhere on the beach?

All of these things are physical in nature and can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Being outside and getting fresh air helps boost my mood, especially on a sunny spring day after a week of being locked away in the office staring at spreadsheets!

I honestly believe there is something active for every person to enjoy, but it is your responsibility to identify what it is you enjoy. The best way to do this is to be open minded and willing to try anything once!

If you really, honestly, detest everything which could even be construed as exercise, then you have a very important decision to make. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of not doing exercise.

Can you afford not to do it?

Are you willing to accept the negative health consequences?

Are you likely to become dependent of medicine to regulate diseases linked to sedentary lifestyles?

If you truly despise even the idea of exercise then another option is to reduce the time it takes to an ‘acceptable amount’. You can do short, sharp exercise periods using techniques such as high intensity interval training or HIIT, where you can cram a blooming good workout into a short (enough) period such as 20 minutes. Surely you can spare 20 minutes in the name of better health?!

It’s down to you to make an assessment of whether you’re willing to make the sacrifice of your time and effort for the perceived benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately you’re your own person and the only person you’re ever truly accountable to is yourself!

YOU control whether you exercise – nobody else.

YOU control what you eat – nobody else.

YOU are the master of your own ship – take it wherever the hell you want, but please don’t moan about not being fit if you’re simply unwilling to take steps to change!

With that, it’s probably time for me to get up and move around a bit.

Over & Out.

F x

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 12.29.50

Long Time No See.

Or perhaps that should be long time no writing?! 

My loyal following might have noticed that I haven’t posted any content on here for quite some time. It’s actually been around 3 months. Why? There are a couple of reasons:

 

1) I started a new job

 

I’ve been a lot more engaged in this role than I have been in any employed role I’ve ever been in any of my previous roles, which I’m sure you’ll agree is much better than being bored. The flip side is that I’ve returned to working longer hours (a trade-off for the excitement of online retail) and have had to adapt and settle in to my new routine.

 

2) I’m travelling less

 

I don’t currently have any big trips booked and although I still have historic content I could blog about, I like to be more ‘in the now’ or ‘present’ hence I prefer blogging whilst travelling than in retrospect.

 

So What Now?

 

I have fingers in a lot of pies at the moment and I’ve therefore made the decision to open up the blog to some of my other interests and some areas which takw up a considerable amount of time. Not all of them are travel related, but when you’re a part –time traveller there’s a lot of other quite interesting things going on that I can share and learn from. Here’s some of the things I’ll be blogging about soon…

 

– Entrepreneurialism

– Self-development

– Career development

– My ‘Craft’ – what I do and how I’m trying to be the best at it!

– Way to expand your network

– Fitness and Nutrition (I’m a fitness addict and qualified sports nutritional advisor)

– The process of writing my first book – including my struggles with perfectionism

– My more-occasional travels, including a plethora of hen parties and my upcoming ski holiday

– My undying love of tea

– My quarter life crisis, including steps I took to get through it!

– Mentorship – being a mentor, having a mentor and the benefits for both people

– Clothes, fashion, design and my love of shoes and bags

It’s certainly a departure from the blog as it was before, but as my focus shifts in my life, so should the focus of the blog. Expect to see a change to the layout of the bog, some of the content and the length of the posts –I’ll post shorter snippets more frequently but not in any particular pattern!
Over-and-out!
F x