Perspective

I listen to podcast series called Don’t Tell Me The Score.  I referenced an episode in a previous blog, The Squeaky Wheel Gets Fixed, and I find that I can take something out of most of the episodes.  Last weekend I listened to a recent episode where the interviewee was Ed Jackson, an ex-professional rugby player who is happier now, as a quadriplegic following an accident, than he ever was before. The episode was simply titled ‘Perspective’. I won’t spoil it too much but Ed goes from being told he will never walk again to climbing mountains.  It’s all about his mindset and perspective and if you are looking for some inspiration from an ‘average person’, this is a great listen.

 

A client of mine also listened to this episode and they write a newsletter for their school. Kindly, they sent me a copy of what they wrote and have agreed that I can share their thoughts on perspective.

 

It got me thinking about perspective… perspective is a strange thing, particularly in these times, where we’re expected to stay in a confined space but take world view. For me, it means coming to terms with the changes and seeing them within the context of wider society, as well as acknowledging our own losses, however minor or major they may be. Last weekend I was supposed to be running the London Marathon. I thought I’d be sad after months of training, and I was surprised when I wasn’t. It did help that this situation has been going on a while, so my brain has had a chance to process the information, and that Manchester marathon was my target race. Manchester was cancelled with only 3 weeks notice… I’d run on average 50 miles a week since January, and had just completed the last of 6 runs over 20 miles. I was looking forward to the taper (and a bit of cheeky carb loading…) when the news came. To many people, mourning the loss of a random race which I stood no hope of winning is bizarre. People are dying, how less important can you get than a marathon? You have probably felt the same about things you have lost, big or small – not saying goodbye to your friends or school, matches, hanging out with your friends, celebrating your birthday the way you want to, missing your exams…. It is important to give space and time to your feelings on whatever you have lost because of lockdown. It doesn’t matter about its importance to anyone else, if it was important to you, acknowledge your feelings about this – are you sad? Angry? Confused? Uncertain? And give your feelings the respect they deserve.

 

But eventually, you need to move on. You need to put things in perspective – view your situation from others point of view, acknowledge the scale of your loss in light of other things going on around you. It is easier said than done, and I know some students are still struggling with organising their life around the new changes. But there are ways to start this process. If you haven’t already got to grips with working from home, or finding a new routine, or dealing with the uncertainty, or managing how much time you use constructively, rather than on social media / games / Netflix etc. here’s some ways you can start:

 

 

  1. Don’t put off the stuff you don’t want to do. You will feel better for tackling it. Get a timetable together. Work out when would be a good time for you to do your work / chores or whatever you’re putting off and get started. Start with half an hour. Then write yourself a little post-it telling yourself what to do next before you finish. This makes it easier to come back to.
  2. Be honest with yourself. This is hard, but you know whether you’ll do something or not. If you’re not going to do it, don’t say you will. Work out why you’re not going to do it and go from there. Are you telling yourself you’ll finish your project by Friday but you know deep down you’ll get distracted? Are you saying you did 2 hours work but deep down know you spent most of it on your phone? Don’t lie to yourself, or you won’t get to the bottom of what’s really stopping you.
  3. Find a new hobby or challenge. Very often if you motivate yourself in one area of life, you can motivate yourself in others. It stems from self esteem… if you feel good about yourself, you will achieve more in all areas of life.  To do this successfully, work out what you need – relaxation? Challenge? Mental stimulation?
  4. Be a squeaky wheel. I know, that’s a bit random, but there’s a saying – the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you are struggling in silence, it may go unnoticed and you may not get the help you need. Speak up, ask for help, and we will do our best to support you.”

 

 

I’ve not really told my personal story to an audience before, but in November 2004 I was widowed when my late wife was killed by someone later convicted of death by dangerous driving.  I went to visit a local charity, Wishes4Kids, to discuss donations at the funeral and as I was walking there, a lorry was driving down the main road towards me. For a split second (and it was only that) I had a thought that if I stepped out in front of it I wouldn’t have to deal with the grief any more. In that split second I also realised how selfish that would be and I’d just be leaving our families with even more grief to deal with. I walked in to the charity office, and met one of the nicest people I’ll ever meet, the late Russell Brickett. He offered to set up a fund within the charity in the name of my late wife which meant that we could keep track of the money raised by any events we did.

 

Obviously, I still struggled for a while and it was only watching the Boxing Day tsunami footage on the news programmes that gave me some perspective. Hundreds of thousands of people had lost whole families, homes, villages. I couldn’t comprehend how that must have felt for them, and I was sat at home watching it. Yes, my life at that point was not in a good place, but it was nowhere near as bad as theirs.

 

These events combined gave me the perspective that I could still live my life. I was here and able to do good things in the name of my late wife.  The first event I arranged was myself and a group of friends running the Stratford Half Marathon in 2005. It was from here that eventually I got a charity place in the 2007 London Marathon and fell in love with the event and then running, which has now turned in to my job and passion.  I still run the London Marathon every year for the charity.

 

Perspective can be tough at any time. We all have things that matter to us at this moment in time. We can think that we are bad people when we focus on our problems when there are worse things happening to others. But we have to take time to look at how we feel and look at how we can change things in our lives to move forwards.

 

Out of seemingly bad things, can come positive change.

 

I hope that you can take something away from this blog. I would love to hear your thoughts and I’ve set up a very supportive Facebook Community where like-minded people can share their experiences of life and exercising. Please feel free to join and invite others you know who may be interested.

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Martin Hulbert

Personal Trainer & Running Coach Leicestershire

MH Health and Fitness Online Community

www.facebook.com/mhhealthandfitness.co.uk

Time For Local Exploration!

I am writing this in England on 22nd April 2020 and using guidelines that are current at the time of writing here. Please check with your own government if elsewhere in the world on your current guidance.

Covid-19 has changed the running landscape for the foreseeable future. No races. No running with clubs. No running with friends. No driving to our favourite places to run. 

At first it can be tough to get your head around this and I know a few people who are struggling to find any motivation to get out and run with the uncertainty of when normality (whatever that will look like) will resume.

However, I think that this gives us new opportunities of exploring our local area and finding new routes from our doorstep that we may not have tried before if we are in ‘training mode’ or if we are restricted by club running routes.  As long as we do not drive excessively to start our run, we can run for our normal daily time anywhere close by. I’d suggest not doing too much as we don’t want to damage our immune system at this point – see this other blog (How to Train in Uncertain Times) I wrote recently.

There are more daylight hours in the coming months, so this gives us the opportunity of running in areas without street lights for more hours (I love running over local fields and local towpaths first thing in the morning).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do we find new routes?

Well for me personally, I just run. Instead of taking the turning I usually do, I’ll take the opposite turn and go a different way. I know most of the distances from my house in Leicester so I am quite lucky that I can gauge how long I’ll be running for.  For those less experienced, you can do the same, just turn a different way, but always make sure you can find your way home again. Make sure you carry your phone so that Maps can come to your rescue if needed, as has happened to me a few times when on holiday and exploring (getting lost!!).

Another alternative to this is each day of the week, turn a different way as soon as you can (left one day, right the next, straight on the next, etc) and see where you end up.

There are also a number of apps and websites that you can use to help you explore as well.  I’ll go through a few but there are many more available I’m sure:

 

City Strideshttps://citystrides.com/

This is probably the one I would recommend the most at the moment. This website links with various running apps such as Strava and allows you to create a map of your local area and challenges you to run every street.  You can challenge friends to see how many streets you can run in a week or a month, so it gives you a social challenge without actual interacting with people. It can also be interesting to run on local roads that you have never run on before and to notice things in your neighbourhood you would never usually notice when running with others (I find I run much more ‘open-eyed’ alone than with others).  This is great for staying local.

 

Stravawww.strava.com

Most of us have our runs uploaded to Strava. After all, if it isn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen right? 

Strava have updated their Explore function (unfortunately only part of their Summit membership) so that you can now find new routes around your area. If you allow your location to be used by Strava (I have it on only when using the app) then it finds routes around your area, and these can be refined by distance of run, elevation and surface.  Once you’ve chosen a route you like the look of, you can then save that as one of your routes.

Once the route has been saved you can then edit the route on Strava in the My Routes section and use the route, following it on your phone, including audio cues if you don’t want to be looking down at your phone all the time.  More information can be found in this blog post from Strava.

If you have more time and want to build your own routes, you can do this in Strava as well. It is a little like MapMyRun or Plot a Route and once the routes have been set up you can use these on your phone.  Depending on your watch, (I’ve only ever used Garmin) you can export the file as a GPX file to be used by your watch.

If you prefer to do things directly from your phone, you can download an app called Garmin Connect IQ.  In the app search for Strava Routes and install this add on. You can then send the routes created in Strava directly to your watch when you sync it.

You can also use the Explore function to find local Strava segments. These are part of a route, anything from 50 metres to miles, that someone has created and where there is now a leaderboard of the fastest runners. You can challenge yourself on a segment to get as high up the leaderboard as possible, which can also be broken down in to gender, age categories, year, day and more.  You can also challenge people of a similar pace to you to see who can run the segments the fastest.  

Finally, (keep this one quiet) if you want to be top of the leaderboard (Strava Crown) then you can set up your own segment on part of your route!

 

Garmin Connecthttps://connect.garmin.com/

As I said earlier, I only have experience of using Garmin watches, so I will assume that other watch companies offer the same or similar functionality.

From the Garmin Connect website you can click on Training, Courses and then you can search for courses (routes) in your area, filtering by road, trail, distance and elevation. From here, you can also create your own course, which, on most newer Garmin watches, will automatically upload when you sync your watch. You can export the file manually to your watch as a GPX file if not.  You can create courses via a manual ‘join the dots’ type experience or ‘round trip’ where you set the start point and it works a route for you.  This is definitely worth a play with the create some new routes.

Below are screen shots from the app.

 

Crossroads or Compass Runs

Finally, for those of you who are a little nervous about venturing too far away from home in these times of uncertainty, there is the Crossroads or Compass run (pictured below).

You start at home, run so far in one direction, then back to home, then so far in another direction and then back home, and so on, until you have completed a crossroad.  For example, if you ran one mile away from home, one mile back again and repeated, you would complete an 8 mile run whilst only ever being one mile away from home.  This is especially good if you are coming back from an injury or illness and need an ‘escape route’ if things don’t feel right.

 

OS Maps (Ordnance Survey)

The app is the best version of OS Maps unless you like to carry a paper map. However, the app is paid for and good for randomly following way-markers across fields, but not worth it if you are staying fairly close to home. It is probably better saved for when we are able to run freely without restrictions.

A couple of things that I need to say from a professional point of view: always stick to suitable roads (no running down motorway hard shoulders please); be aware when running off road or in new areas (men and women) and stay safe. Sorry if that sounds scary, it is just the normal general safety advice I would give everyone as a coach.

 

I think that gives you enough to think about. These ideas work just as well if you are new to an area, on holiday (when we are able to do that in the future), or at the present time when you are thinking of new local running routes.  You can also revisit this blog when we are allowed to travel further afield to run so that you can explore more new areas.

Enjoy your new routes and I’d love to hear more about what you find and where you go on www.facebook.com/mhhealthandfitness.co.uk and https://www.facebook.com/groups/155082958638805/ 

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Martin Hulbert

Personal Trainer & Running Coach Leicestershire

www.facebook.com/mhhealthandfitness.co.uk  https://www.facebook.com/groups/155082958638805/ 

The Squeaky Wheel Gets Fixed

I’ve always been very conflicted when it comes to writing about mental health and exercise. The reason for my conflict is that I never quite know how to broach the subject to a broader audience (I’m more than happy talking to my individual clients about it though).


In the past I’ve never thought that I exercised for my mental health. For those that know me or my running, you’ll know that I am competitive and that I enjoy training for events and doing the best I can in those races. I can also be my harshest critic when it comes to my own achievements. After all, my mantra for my PB in the 2019 London Marathon was “don’t be a glorious failure”. By that, I mean I was going for a big PB, had I got a small PB or just missed it, people would still have been congratulatory and told me how well I’d done, but I knew that I had a chance to achieve what I want.


This year I was training jointly for the London Marathon and a 40-mile race and was running around 70 miles per week. I don’t really think too much about the mental side of these training runs, I just generally go out and run and then rest when I am physically tired. However, now that all races have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, I was left in limbo. This limbo is the same as everyone else who runs, whether it is starting Couch25K with a friend, parkruns every Saturday or training for races; what now is the point?


I’ve suddenly realised just how much I love pressure free running and how much pressure I put on ‘training’ for events. As the weather has started to improve, I’ve found myself heading over the fields and towpaths near to my house. I’ve even stopped to take photos (something I’d never do when ‘training’). I’ve had all my most enjoyable runs of the year in the last week. No pressure, no training and just running.

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky, grass, outdoor and nature



And this is something that we need to remind ourselves. Most of us take running and walking for granted. Then, when our lives suddenly change and we can no longer to go the gym, work or shopping when we want to, where do we get the endorphins that we are used to? This is why suddenly more people are seen out walking or running. They have nowhere else to go. They cannot run on a treadmill in a gym. They cannot go for a walk around town in their lunch break. They cannot walk around shops 2-3 times a week. And this is where the media is causing (in my opinion) problems and divisions in society.


Suddenly the, usually very supportive, running community are voicing concern that so many ‘non-runners’ and ‘new walkers’ are out on their favourite routes. Yes, they are, but why is that an issue? Ok, so it may not be as quiet as they are used to. They may have to stop sometimes to think about how to pass people and let people pass them. But at least we are all still allowed out to exercise. That has been taken away from other people in other countries. We are still lucky.


So, please do not be put off by what the media and others are saying. We are all entitled to go for our daily exercise. At present when I write this, there are no time limits on how long we can go out for. As long as we are not risking getting into trouble and using the resources of emergency services, you can go out for a longer walk than normal. The only restriction really, is that we stay local and use open spaces near to home where possible (taken from official government information https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-guidance-on-access-to-green-spaces). But as we are lucky enough to be allowed out we should respect that and not take liberties. We would all suffer much more if we had to stay in 24/7.


So, in these times where some people need to be outdoors, running or walking, for their mental health and others are shouting loudly that everyone should stay at home, where do people go to find their safe place with like-minded people? It’s tough. I am part of Facebook running groups where some people are refusing to exercise as it’s not essential to them or they feel that it is wrong in the current climate, others have more time on their hands and are doing more than they usually would and others feel as though they have to stick rigidly to a certain time or distance. Arguments often ensue, people get publicly chastised or even ridiculed (half the time by people who last month had ‘#BeKind’ on their profiles) and then go in to their shell and either don’t want to go out or are scared to participate in online discussions.


However, there is a safe Facebook group. Head Runners was created by Paul Tebbutt as a place where people can talk openly about mental health and how running has helped them. Paul told me “the reason I started Head Runners really is quite simple. I have always used running over the years to help my state of mind as many of us do. I wanted to help raise awareness and create a safe space for people to talk openly about mental health and share their stories about how running has helped them”. Head Runners can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/headrunners I would recommend checking it out.


Another idea to connect with friends who run or walk at this time of physical distancing (I dislike social distancing as currently we can connect online in numerous ways) is virtual walks. One of my clients ran at the weekend whilst on the phone to her friend (obviously be mindful of trip hazards and roads, etc). They really enjoyed being able to run ‘together’ while being apart and have a good catch up chat to pass the time as they would do normally when they run together. This can also be done via apps such as Facetime and WhatsApp among others and you could even share a video call to share your routes.


Finally, the reason for the title of this blog. I’d never heard the saying “it’s the squeaky wheel that gets fixed” until Monday. I listen to podcasts on my runs as I like to listen to and learn from people and as I run a lot, it gives me a lot of learning time. I also found that music often affected my mood, whereas podcasts just let me drift off and listen.


The podcast in question ‘Don’t Tell Me The Score’ is a BBC offering where (mainly) sports people are interviewed about their lives and what they have learnt through sport and life that has helped them improve themselves and help others. There are so many little nuggets of great information and helpful tips in each podcast and you don’t need to be a sports geek to really get benefit from them.


The episode I was listening to https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080zy49 is an interview with former female cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent. They are talking about mental health issues among other things and the interviewer comes out with the statement “it’s the squeaky wheel that gets fixed”.


A lot of people who suffer with mental health problems will never talk about it and will never ask for help. Due to this they do not get help. People were posting after the sad suicide of Catherine Flack that they are there for people who want/need to talk. Unfortunately, most people won’t reach out for help and will tuck themselves away with their own thoughts. This is another reason to look at the Head Runners Facebook group, talk to friends, family, your coach or one of the many charitable organisations such as Head Runners, Mind, or Samaritans.


If you want help you have to be that ‘squeaky wheel’. You must make a noise and either ask for help or make it known to people that you are not in a good place. People will help if you ask for it. Despite what the media (and especially social media) portrays, the majority of people, family, friends and even random strangers are good people and will offer a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on or just an ear to listen to you.


Please make sure you are that squeaky wheel when you need help.


Want to know more about running?
Do you want a personalised training plan or a telephone call to discuss what to do?
Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation
Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com
Martin Hulbert
Personal Trainer & Running Coach Leicestershire



How to Train in Uncertain Times

I started thinking about writing this after most of the spring marathons were cancelled and I was asked by my clients how they can keep going between now and when they would normally start to train for their events.

Don’t Overtrain!

I am usually in the ‘cautious’ corner when it comes to possibly overtraining (some of my clients find it very frustrating when I have to remind them that sometimes less is better) as I have been guilty of that myself with my own running in previous years and believe me, it is no fun at all. In the current climate of Covid-19, overtraining needs to be avoided at all costs (more about that later).

Therefore, this is a great time to re-evaluate your running goals. A 16 week marathon training plan for an October marathon, assuming that they will still go ahead, would start at some point in June. That means that we have at least April and May to do something different and still have loads of time to build back up the distances again.

The next couple of months will afford you the luxury of mixing up your running a bit. Whether you want to change your possible marathon finishing time, get faster, just enjoy running, or change your focus on to shorter distances, now is the best time to do this.

So, for most of my clients, we have dropped their longer runs from 16-20 miles, if they were marathon training, down to between 8-14 miles a week (less for some), depending on their targets.  I am asking them not to overdo the mileage and instead, enjoy some runs that they would not do during a marathon training cycle.   That could mean going for runs off-road, it could mean doing some shorter more creative sessions that will help to get back some speed into their legs (shorter faster intervals, mixture of fartleks and tempo sessions, etc)

Fatigue and Immune System

At this point it is important to remember that marathon training is tough, both mentally and physically and sometimes you need a bit of a break from the longer runs and hard, long tempo sessions. You also need to reduce the amount of fatigue that you put through your body, especially at a time like this where we might need our immune system to fight Covid-19 (or more generally cold and flu viruses).

There are some great articles about running too hard or far suppressing and reducing your immune system, but this article written by American coach Steve Magness (famous not only for his coaching but also because he was a main whistle-blower in the Nike Oregan Project/Alberto Salazar doping scandal) sums it up very concisely.

https://www.facebook.com/stephenmagness/posts/10101115712420191

We cannot boost or increase our immune system through exercising (I have been guilty of using those words in the past, I admit), but you can make it less easy to damage by being sensible with the amount of exercise you do. Too much and you can damage and suppress it.

This is a key part of the article:

-Regular exercise practiced over time is beneficial to the immune system. It will make it more robust.
– But like with performance, if you push into or near over-training, your risk of infection likely goes up. It’s not rocket science. It’s stress and adaptation.
– Rather than defining hard/moderate/easy for your training, think of it as drastic changes which alter your risk of infection. If ‘normal’ for you is running 10 miles per day and you continue doing that, you’re likely fine. If normal for you is running 2 miles per day and you try to run 6 miles per day, your risk of infection likely goes up.

My message on the back of this is don’t keep pushing for more and more miles or more and more speed each week. It is fine to do some hard workouts if you usually do and if you know that you are not at your physical limit (they may feel hard at the time, that is fine, but you should not feel destroyed afterwards). So, make sure that you keep your easy runs really easy. If you feel tired then take a day (or extra day) off from exercise, not just running.

You can improve slightly in this period but remember that if you do not currently have a plan in place, you reduce your mileage if you increase your intensity and don’t do anything to really trash yourself. Shorter speedwork is fine if you take your recovery seriously and don’t push yourself in to the red.  For those I have written plans for, I know their running history and can dial it down a few notches, but still allow them to try some runs that they wouldn’t normally do.

Here are a few concepts that will help maintain your immune system. *taken from the Steve Magness article again https://www.facebook.com/stephenmagness/posts/10101115712420191

-Sleep!
-Maintain exercise routines.
-Eat quality food as best you can.
-Don’t fall into a chronically slightly stressed state. Meaning don’t watch or scroll through coronavirus tweets all day.
-Give structure to your day and time spent working on things you enjoy.
-Don’t go to the well in training.
-For the most part, ignore all of the advice on supplements, magic pills, etc. that are “immune-boosting.”
-Manage psychological stress: Find activities you can do to give yourself a mental break: Yoga, reading, meditation, walks in nature, etc.
-Don’t train yourself (or diet yourself) into glycogen depletion.
-If you do decide to a slightly harder or longer workout, replenish with food and water soon after.
-Remember to exercise solo 

Looking Forwards – What Next?

I know that as I write this on Wednesday 25th March things have changed a lot in the last week, with further rumours that more measures in the UK will be forced upon us. That means that as runners we are pointing in a few different directions.

-panic, I want to run as much as possible while we can

-a complete lack of motivation as I don’t know what is going to happen and there is plenty of time before my next race

-carry on as normal and continuing to do what I can

At least with currently only being allowed to run once a day it takes away the urge to run twice a day to get in more and more runs. Double days are likely to suppress your immune system at a time we need it most (yes even you fit and healthy youngsters, this is not going to be nice if you do contract Covid-19).

I can understand those with a lack of motivation at the moment. They have got up to almost peak mileage in their marathon training, or were getting to a peak ready for spring league races and then had it all taken away from them. However, habits form. When we run regularly that becomes a habit. When we stop running, that will also become a habit.  If we stop for too long, then it is tough to then reform the motivation and habit to continue again. Also, and the thing I find hardest to watch from a coaching point of view, is the loss of fitness that had been built up in what has been horrible weather this winter.

This is where having access to a coach can help.  I have amended the training plans of all of my runners who were planning spring races, writing maintenance plans with a bit more speed work for most but less mileage and less distance in their longer runs so as not to fatigue them.  I have also had coaching calls with people I don’t write ongoing plans for. These have been focused on how to construct their own maintenance plan, tips on how to keep going, strength training to minimise injuries and how to keep your motivation when you don’t know what will happen next.

My biggest goal is to keep people active and running whenever we can.  

Want to know more about running or personal training?

Do you want a personalised training plan or a telephone call to discuss what to do?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Martin Hulbert

Personal Trainer & Running Coach Leicestershire

When to Exercise When You Are Ill

We are getting into the winter months, which generally means the cold and flu season is on its way. I often get asked if it’s okay to exercise when sick? I know there is nothing more frustrating than enjoying your exercise programme, getting results and then getting ill, whether it’s a common cold, full blown flu or another horrible bug.

Asking if you can exercise when sick can be a bit like asking how long is a piece for string? It all really comes down to your symptoms, how you feel and the type of exercise you want to do.

I personally use the general rule of thumb that if my symptoms are just above the head (so runny nose, sore throat or sneezing) it’s still okay for moderate to gentle exercise. Take it easier than normal and do nothing that’s going to be too tiring. Personally, I find it hard to take a step back and not go to the gym or run but sometimes you just have to learn to listen to your body and rest up when needed.

If I can feel a cold coming on, but the symptoms aren’t too bad I will just start with some gentle exercise, see how I feel after ten minutes and then either stop or keep going depending on how I feel. If you aren’t too sick and do the right exercise it can actually help your immune system. So if you do just have a common cold and feel like you could do some form of exercise then do just, just far easier than normal.

However, there are some definite signs and symptoms of when you should avoid any type of exercise (usually ‘below the neck’ symptoms): – High temperature – Achy muscles (not your usual post-workout type of aches) – Chesty cough – Swollen glands – Vomiting – Diarrhea

If you display any forms of those symptoms, then you need to rest. It’s more important to give yourself the time to heal, sleep and stay hydrated. There is no point pushing yourself to only make yourself worse. It’s also important that when you are sick that you don’t spread your germs to those around you (you wouldn’t want them to do it to you).

Once you have got over the worst of your symptoms and want to get back into your routine, always make sure you start with an easier workout to make sure you are fully over whatever you had. Going too hard too quickly can sometimes lead to a reoccurrence of your symptoms.

Unfortunately getting sick is a part of life and we can’t be super human all the time. I generally know when I get sick (which isn’t often at all nowadays), it’s my body’s way of telling me I need to listen and slow down a little bit.

Remember it’s okay to put your feet up sometimes and let your body heal. It is better to have a couple of days off to fight off an illness instead of battling through regardless and missing a month when you make it worse. Be sensible.

I’m also not a medical expert by any means so I always advise to seek professional medical advice when you really are unsure or symptoms persist.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

To Weigh or Not to Weigh?

Since I started getting fit, I rarely weigh myself, and that’s actually something I’m proud of. I’m a firm believer of that you shouldn’t determine your success by a number on the scales. For most people they want to lose weight because of the way they look. If that is the case, in all of my programs I promote using body measurements and taking photos to show progress. It still surprises me, though, how many girls I see obsessing over their body weight. I really can’t emphasise enough, how measuring weight isn’t the best way to show your progress when it comes to your health and fitness goals. So, I’m here to tell you why you need say goodbye to your bathroom scales and measure your fitness success in other ways. 

Why it’s important to measure your results – Whilst I say don’t weigh yourself, I still think it is really important to track your progress on your health and fitness journey. That’s because, when you have clear goals about what you want, you need a way to measure how you are tracking towards those goals. It’s also a good way of keeping yourself motivated and holding yourself accountable. As I like to say “what gets measured, gets done”.

Why body weight isn’t the best for measuring your progress – Your body weight can vary depending on many things. Once you start incorporating strength training into your workouts, you will start to build muscle. As you begin to build muscle your weight may increase, or stay the same, even though you are losing fat. As muscle takes up less volume than fat, your overall ‘size‘ will decrease. Weight can also vary depending on water retention, time of the month (for women), and your digestive system. Depending on what is going on in the body means the scales may vary a lot, so it’s not painting an accurate picture of your true results. You can hold on to water more on one day than another, for example. If you jump on the scale and see the number has gone up or hasn’t moved the way you hoped, it can lead to feelings of disappointment when in fact you could be achieving some awesome results. I see a lot of people building a very unhealthy relationship around their weight, which is exactly why I don’t like regular weighing as a measurement to track progress.

Before and after photos – If you are wanting to lose weight because you don’t like the way you look, this is a preferred method of measuring your progress. I always strongly recommend doing a ‘before’ photo when you start on any new health and fitness goal. Without visibly being able to see how you’re going, it is all too easy to lose motivation. Photos will definitely show more on your progress than the numbers on the scale do. I know sometimes the photos can be upsetting if you are don’t like the way you look, but it can also be one of the biggest motivators for you. These will allow to take an honest look at where you are. For instance, while you can keep them somewhere private just for yourself, you can also tape them to your fridge door to use as a motivation to eat properly and exercise. This type of tactic keeps you motivated to stay on track. Then, once you start seeing how your body is changing in your progress shots, you’ll just want to keep working hard.

Body measurements – Body measurements are another great way of seeing where you have lost fat from the body. As you gain more muscle, lose fat and get leaner, your body shape will change and your measurements will decrease. Or, for some, you may want to increase in size. I suggest keeping this very simple and only take a few measurements. Measure your chest, waist, lower abdomen, hips, upper arms and upper thighs. Do this in about four-week blocks.   

Celebrate other successes – Remember, whilst it’s good to see how your body is physically changing, don’t forget to look at other successes that will happen during your health and fitness journey. Becoming fit and healthy isn’t just about how you look aesthetically, but also how you feel. For me, I love that I have more energy, self-confidence and that I am physically stronger than I have ever been. So, whilst it’s good to see how you are tracking on a physical level, also don’t forget to look at all the other amazing things you are gaining in your life. I look back now at who I was before, and who I am now, and it’s two completely different people. Every day I wake up and know that I’m happier, stronger, better and wiser than I used to be. To me, that is the biggest success I have gained.

 

Remember your happiness and self-worth should not be dependent on a number that a scale reads back at you. Yes, results are important but don’t forget to be proud of yourself, every step along the way.

Want to know more?

Contact me today to ask any questions or book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com