I was recently contacted by personal trainer and nutritional coach Jack Braniff to write a short blog for his website Urban Energie. This is so exciting as I've been following Jack's tips for well over a year now. Rather than filling my inbox with what's hot right now Jack provides lots of down-to-earth tips that actually work. If you aren't signed up to his mailing list yet I would highly recommend that you sign up, which you can do here
Anyway, if you're interested in reading the article. This is what I had to say:
I'd always been interested in sport. I was really active as a child and did every hobby going. Fast forward through university and a new job in the City and the pounds had started to pile on and going to the gym was simply never top of the priority list. I'd regularly scroll through Instagram and look at pictures of girls thinking "well of course they look like that fitness is their life". I felt like the girls who hung around in gyms most of the day and had time to take selfies had physiques that I could never have.
Then something happened, I realised two things which were huge game changers.
See what I mean about the selfie thing ?! Now that I need photos for the blog I'm really going to have to get better at them.
Firstly, I realised that if I wanted to change my body it was going to take time. This was the most important thing I learnt in the whole process. In a society where everyone wants everything now, fame, fortune, status etc, a healthy physique is something you simply can't buy. It takes time to change your body. I realised that I hadn't got in the shape I was in in just 6 or 12 weeks so why was I under the illusion that I would lose weight in a 12 week plan either? Yes 12 weeks is a great start but I needed to undo 3 years worth of university when I regularly ate mint chocolate areos for dinner (Yep some nights I'd have three in a row, not a vegetable in sight!) Once I realised this I stopped being so hard on myself. I'm now just over six months into eating healthily and I now have a body that I'm working on for life not just to get into a dress at the weekend.
The second thing I did was worked on small things consistently. I'm not the kind of person that can cut out chocolate for life, I know some people feel the same about having a glass of wine on a Friday night, but chocolate is my thing. However, I knew that the three bar a day chocolate consumption which was then occurring between finishing work and the walk to the train was a result of hardly eating anything in the days and being so hungry. I decided to start with breakfasts. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and so I started having a substantial protein based breakfast which took me less than 5 minutes to make and had a huge impact on my day. I had more energy and less cravings which made me much happier. My usual breakfast now is eggs or avocado based.
I set up a separate fitness account on Instagram, @lucy_fitness to keep me motivated and help me track my meals. It now has almost 10k followers which is ridiculous but I hope it's because people can see that I'm a real person who spends most of their week in an office which I guess makes me more relatable to most girls. I definitely don't give up a day at the weekend to do "meal-prep" or have time to take good photos. What I do fits in with real life whether that's working long hours and/or balancing short effective workouts around a family life.
I now train for 30 minutes 3 times a week. If I can do more I do but I think it's really demoralising to set yourself up for 4-5 workouts and do 3 when 3 is still more than most people. I purposefully make my workouts really hard. I used to spend 45 mins at a time on a cross-trainer but you don't need a lot of time to get a decent workout. If I'm short on time I do a mini circuit like 10 burpees, 20 alternating lunges, 10 press-ups and then hold a plank for as long as I can. When I started I was doing press-ups on my knees and even then could barely do 3, it's all about persistence and consistency. In terms of eating, I would definitely agree that "abs are made in the kitchen". Routine works for me so I have a pretty set protein source for dinners for each day of the week and then just mix up what I have with it. I try and eat well most of the time by choosing non-processed "clean" options but I definitely still regularly eat chocolate. It's really important to find something that works for you. The best diet you can follow is one that you can stick to and by allowing myself a bit of something I like to eat I don't feel deprived.