Category: Healthy Living

Winter: Basic Rules for Living Happy

Winter. Cold, grey and the perfect breading ground for goals going out the window. Recently, a good friend of mine made a call out for a winter challenge to keep our heart, soul and mind warm over the next few cold months. Those damn winter blues are a killer, and it is so easy to fall into a couch filled, comfort food frenzy. Winter suuuuucks (unless you’re a ski/snowboard fuelled person). And those grey, cold days can play havoc on your happy summer brain. But – we can make it through!

Here are a few tips and tricks to help push through the next winter months.

  • Keep active. Probably the most important one to keep a fresh mind. A gym membership can be so helpful if you can’t get outside on those rainy days, but if the gym ain’t your thing, get active inside. You can find some GREAT workouts on youtube – 30mins daily is all you need.
  • Get outside. On those brief moments you have some clear skies – take advantage and get outside. Some fresh air and open space is all your body craves sometimes!
Get outside when you can!
  • Stretch and breeeeeath. I have found so much solitude in regular stretch and breath sessions. Once again youtube is totally your friend to find some motivation and ideas from some beginner yoga. Or just go with your body, move where it wants to move and find your winter zen flow.
  • Speak! Keep up regular contact with those people that fill your soul. Talk out any blues your feeling and laugh laugh laugh!
  • Be warm. Don’t suffer being cold. My house is pretty chilly, but all it takes is a few blankets and a hot water bottle and I am toasty warm. Nothing beats snuggling up with a good movie on the couch on a winter evening. Warm toes means a warm heart – so keep your tootsies toasty!
  • Keep up with your affirmations. If you’ve been slipping with telling yourself how wonderful you are – write it down and stick it on your bathroom mirror! Even on those cold mornings you’ll find that burst of happiness.
  • Food. Ohhhh it’s so easy to eat all of the comfort food to help warm your cold cold toes through winter. But it’s not gonna help in the long run. Keep up your veges, your healthy snacks and regular eating…and then when you do indulge – enjoy every minute of it.
Stay warm, stay happy!

Winter doesn’t have to be dreary and cold – you can still make HUGE progress on your goals. So don’t give up!

What are your tips for getting through the winter months?

The Girl Who Lifts

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Just Do You – a guide to being selfish

Just Do You. One of the most important things I’ve been told lately, because adding a bit of selfish to your life can make everything a whole lot easier.

Growing up – we were told not to be selfish. To put others before ourselves. Not to keep things for ourselves. But when did we suddenly take all this too far? When did making other people happy, get put in front of our own happiness? It is IMPOSSIBLE to keep everyone happy. Really. No matter how hard you try.

“Must keep work happy”

“Must keep *insert person’s name here* happy”

“I’ve been friends with them for years so I have to go”

Have you ever found yourself saying these, followed by a sigh of dread? Don’t worry – so have I.
Recently I’ve been trying to steer away from these comments, and instead putting ME in those.

“Must keep ME happy” coz really, isn’t this the most important thing? And by being happier myself, making other people happy just came so much easier. Now there is a big difference between thinking about yourself all the time, and putting yourself first when it’s needed. I’m talking about the latter.

I had a coffee with an old friend last week (which actually turned into a cider) and we both were living a life very similar – we were just being us. And what was magical was that our lives were intertwining with each other because we were JUST BEING US. We’re both busy girls, and we’re both deeply proud of what each other has accomplished, which is why when we come together it’s our selfish time.

Why do you need to put some selfish into your life?

Here are a few reasons:

Mental and Physical Health
My training ultimately comes first, it has to. But by being selfish and putting my training first it leaves me in a better mood and a sharper mind. My gym time is sacred and is often the first thing I plan in my day. It’s non-negotiable. Do I always love it? No. But I do it.

I also like to put away some time for meditation and soul thinking. It helps me process the day, calm my inner voice, and let go of any demons – making me an overall happier gal.

Better relationships
By putting ME first (oooooo so selfish) – one of the first things I found myself saying was “No.” Do you know that you DON’T have to do everything anyone asks you? I know! Who would’ve thought! Ultimately, you decide who you spend your time with, and who fills your head. Make it count. Make it special.

Personal development
Have you ever wanted to learn the piano? Or learn a new language? Or start a sport? DO IT. Please don’t say you don’t have time, coz I’ll just tell you to find it. Personal development gives you a sense of accomplishment, success, pride, happiness, something else to add to your CV – the list goes on.

No Bullshit – Just Do You.
This is my most favourite one of all. No bullshit. Absolutely none. I take pride in my life, who is in it, and what I do. Quite often we focus on self-judgment rather than self-compassion. Be gentle and realize you’re enough. Me? I have a job that I LOVE. A husband who fills my life with every ounce of happiness. Friends who I would do absolutely anything for, and them for me. But best of all, I have a person who I can look in the mirror and say “Wow, you are awesome”.

 

The Girl Who Lifts

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Why you should let go of losing weight and train because you love it

About 5 years ago, my sole purpose to go the gym was to lose weight. Why? Because it would make me happier of course. I would find a boyfriend, get a better job and become that person I always wanted to be. My gym sessions were slow and horrible. I would run on the treadmill, get bored. Go on the bike, get bored. Try the elliptical, get bored. Go home. And because I didn’t have a purpose, I would eat and drink shit….and of course my weight would stay the same. I hated it.

Being stuck in a world of “weight loss” wasn’t helping my confidence. If I didn’t like how I looked, I wasn’t going to portray a very comfortable person, and ultimately, the people I surrounded myself with treated me the same way.

My social media was filled with size 0 models, “how to lose weight” guides, skinny teas and detox guides. My pantry was filled with “treats” I would promise myself to only eat on my cheat meal, but really would gorge into as soon as I got home from work.

Get the picture?

Enter powerlifting.

When I started lifting, I still had the obsession with losing weight, it wasn’t an overnight fix. Weights were then becoming the “fat blaster” fad, and my tiny 2kg dumbells were meant to be the answer to everything. Boy was I wrong. When my coach started teaching me the motions and technique behind the squat, bench and deadlift my goals made a shift from weight lost, to weight I could move.

80kg Deadlift

I remember my first goal of an 80kg deadlift. It seemed impossible when I was only lifting 40kgs, but that was the goal. Each session I would go in, do my program and leave feeling like I had succeeded. It was a brand new feeling.  My coach really encouraged me to stop weighing myself. To stop obsessing over THAT number. It was a very calming break. I started reading self-love guides instead of weight loss guides. I started really talking to myself and telling myself that I was actually OK.

There is a sense of achievement from powerlifting that I had never felt before, and it’s something I’m now addicted to. I STRIVE to be a better lifter. But how does that differ from an addiction to weight loss? Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing before. The idea of “weight loss” seemed so unreachable and mind boggling. I had no idea HOW to get there, or even WHY. The treadmill certainly wasn’t doing it.

My goals are ever-changing. Once I hit that 80kg deadlift – I wanted 100kg. Once I hit 100? 140! And so far I’ve hit every single goal. Just last week I hit my current goal of 190kg deadlift – and that goal has once again increased. It’s the same for squat and bench as well – once you hit that number, celebrate and start again. Bigger and better, every single day.

Oh, and not only am I no longer bored – I have a husband, an awesome job, and found that person I was looking for. And it had nothing to do with losing weight.

 

The Girl Who Lifts

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How to get through a bad session – a guide to the big fail

I hate the word fail – but sometimes that’s exactly what happens. Today’s session did not go to plan at all. My squats were feeling off, the bar was sitting weird and I would go down, but wouldn’t get back up – the ultimate fail. A weight that would normally move very easy, was suddenly a huge grind and I was NOT happy. And do you know what was going through my head? “FAIL FAIL FAIL”

The failed squat

If you’re anything like me, a bad session can turn even worse very quickly. A few swear words, a few dirty glances in the mirror, talking and thinking yourself down until you grab your things and head for the door. Working through a fail session can sometimes feel harder than the session itself.

So how do you get through it?

First of all, take a deep breath. So much of a fail session is mental, so try not to be too down on yourself. Have a think about what’s going on – outside stresses? Have you eaten properly today? Drunk enough water? So many factors can affect what goes on in the gym, so try and clear your head. Don’t over analyse the fail.

DON’T leave the gym – you’ll let the fail win. You’re there and that’s awesome, so don’t leave on a bad note. If you’re not feeling it, move onto something else. Take the weight down, get your accessory work done, or go for a walk on the treadmill but whatever you do, don’t leave!

A little bit of self belief can go a long way

Ask for a spot. If it’s a confidence thing, sometimes having someone there to catch you/the weight can make all the difference. Most people are pretty keen to help out, so ask someone working out close by, or ask one of the gym staff.

Remember the big picture. Remember what bought you here in the first place. That dress you want to fit into? That holiday that’s coming up? Whatever the reason, get it back in your head and focus on it. For me – it’s my comp in 6 weeks, no bad session is going to stop me pushing towards that goal!

Let it go when you leave the gym. Don’t hold onto it and turn the next session into a bad one as well. Congratulate yourself on what you got through and have a laugh about the bad stuff. Next time you will nail it!

What are your tips for getting through a fail session?

The Girl Who Lifts
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Setting the routine to get you going

So you’ve decided to start. You’ve decided to add some exercise into your daily life, and become the healthiest you. What now? Let’s find that routine!

CONGRATS! You’ve made the best decision. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gym, or you’re wanting to get active in your neighbourhood – whatever it is, you’ve done it.

My Motto

At the end of last year, hubby and I packed up our lives and moved back to my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand.  The move was a big step towards our goals and was absolutely so exciting to get back with my family and friends. We quit our jobs (and I said goodbye to my 5 hour commute) sold/gave away and dumped about 85% of our things, said some very tearful goodbyes and started a brand new life in New Zealand.

Routine was something I relied on very much back in Aussie. I would be on the train at 5am to go to work, get home from work at 7.30, and go straight to the gym, and then home for dinner and bed. Monday – Friday this was my routine. It wasn’t the best way to live, but it was what was needed to get to NZ, and get to our goals.

I think for any gym/life/body goals to be met, routine needs to be in place. Routines give a purpose, keep your driven and help YOU know when and how these goals will be met.

So what happens when you need to start a routine – what do you do? How do you put one in place that you know you will stick to?

Since moving to NZ my routine has been very, ummm, relaxed (to say the least). My husband and I are very much enjoying the unemployed life, and having been taking each day as it comes (to be honest I wasn’t actually sure what day it even was this morning).

But, this can’t last for ever and very soon we will both be back in the working life, and a routine will need to be set. I’ve got some pretty big goals I wanna hit this year with my lifting (helllooooooo World Championships) so I need to be hitting my training.

These are my main suggestions for starting a routine that you CAN and WILL stick too.

  1. Decide the best time each day to work out. You don’t HAVE to be up at 6am on a Monday morning to workout, if you know that doesn’t work for you. Maybe you finish work at 3pm on a Tuesday and don’t have to pick the kids up until 5.30. Maybe you meet your friend across the road from a park for brunch every Saturday and you’re always meaning to go for a walk before brunch each week. Find your spaces each day and write in your workout dates – and don’t think it needs to be a 7 day thing – work in your rest days as well, if Wednesday is your busiest day, don’t force in a pump class at 4am if that’s not your thing.
  2. Unfortunately, this is the hard one. DO IT. It will be hard, and some days you will feel like you’re forcing yourself to do it, but think about that end goal and get out there!
  3. Don’t beat yourself up! Life is busy sometimes – family stuff, work, friends, parties – it will all get in the way, the most important this is to not let one missed workout ruin the routine.
  4. The first few weeks are the hardest – find your support crew, find the people who are going to keep you accountable – and let them help.
  5. Enjoy it. This is such an exciting time, and keep some variety in your life! Try out that spin class, try run for a few moments during your walk, or increase your weights. Just make sure you are enjoying it!
Just. Do. It.

Pretty soon, it will all be as normal as your morning coffee!

What is your best way to keep your routine going?

The Girl Who Lifts
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