Now that the lock down has been extended, it’s inevitable that most of us will be working from home for the foreseeable future. I’ve been speaking to my clients over the past few weeks and they seem to be working longer hours than ever before. Zoom conferences scheduled well past normal knocking off time, late night emails and never really switching off from the work day. For the most part this working from home lark doesn’t seem all it was cracked up to be!
As “The Great Toilet Roll Shortage of 2020” continues, most of us will now be working from home. At first this seems like a dream. However, without some structure in place, the novelty of multitasking “work” and Netflix whilst sitting in your pants can quickly wear off.
I’ve worked from home (home changed countries every couple of months!) for over two years now and I thought I’d share a few of the things I find help me to be reasonably productive.
My top tips for staying active when it's cold, wet and you'd rather just watch netflix and order a dominoes
When the days are short and the nights are long it can be hard to get up, get out and work out.
Even when you have a nice swanky gym membership it can still be tough to extract yourself from the warmth of the living room, defrost the car and make the journey to the temple of iron for leg day.
London Marathon training is well under way too, as is the Big Freeze! So it can be a bit challenging to muster up the enthusiasm to rack up those cold weather miles.
But fear not here’s a few things that work for me and my clients:
Embrace the cold!
Running through the frosty countryside under the winter sun is a truly energising experience.
Give these a try to help you get up and at it! And if you have any more tips that work for you drop them in the comments.
You’re hitting the gym, taking the stairs instead of the lift and eating "clean" (whatever that means!?).
You’re tracking your food with My Fitness Pal but you’re still not noticing a difference to the waistline.
What could it be!?
It could be not what you’re eating, but what you’re drinking.
Shock horror … calories in drinks count EXACTLY THE SAME as calories in food!
And if you are trying to reduce your calorie intake through diet then you absolutely need to look at drinks too.
Take a Starbucks grande vanilla latte at around 250 cals. Grab one on the way to the office and another mid afternoon to power you through those reports and you’re well on the way to an extra 500 cals a day from just two drinks. Over the working week that’s a whopping 2,500 calories.
Simply swapping the creamy, frappe-chino whatever for an Americano with a splash of milk and a sweetener instantly brings the calories down to a more waist friendly 20 cals per hit.
Booze. Yes unfortunately that glass/bottle of wine and those beerios contain calories. Your body counts them even if you don’t. If you're trying to loose weight then it maybe wise to reduce the amount of alcoholic beverages you consume.
Big night out coming up? Try alternating the alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic calorie free soft drinks or water. Not only will you reduce calories but also the severity of the sore head in the morning.
Ditch the sugar laden soft drinks for their respective diet varieties. Instant calorie reduction. POP! (Piece of Pi$$!)
I’ve had clients lose weight by ONLY changing what they drink. Mad eh!?
See, that was easy wasn’t it? Weight loss doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated or involve starvation diets and detox teas. Sometimes simple little swaps can add up to make a big difference.
Do you sometimes struggle to drag yourself to the gym? Well read on to hear my top 5 tips for getting through the door and pumping iron!
Even for the most seasoned gym goers who refer to their training program as a “lifestyle”, there will still be days when it takes every ounce of muscle to drag themselves to the gym.
I’m no different and I’m a PT. I LOVE going to the gym, training and working out but still get the odd days when I really just don’t fancy it.
So if even the gym bunnies sometimes struggle how are the rest of supposed to get it done?!
Here’s my top 5 tips for getting your workout ticked off even when you can’t be arsed.
Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance!
And here’s a little bonus tip. Treat yourself to some new bit of “gym crap” (as my wife calls it) every couple of months. Nothing like a new pair of highly patterned, jazzy sports socks or lycra leotard to get you motivated!
These tips do come with a little caveat. If you are GENUINELY feeling unwell, knackered or proper shit then definitely sack off your training. You would be far better getting some rest and sleep. But if you'd rather just Netflix & Chill then refer to the tips above and action accordingly.
Right. Off to the gym we go … in our lovely new lycra!
The shops have started selling winter coats and Ryanair are charging for oxygen on flights. This can only mean one thing - summer holiday season is well and truly underway!
My clients have been working really hard over the last few months and got some great results. This is amazing but a few of them have started to worry about their upcoming summer holidays.
Now you might think this is rather odd “Why would they be worried about their holiday!?” Well they’re not really worried about the holiday, they’re worried about undoing all of the progress they’ve made.
Here’s what I do …
Firstly I tell them two things:
So here’s my top 5 tips for holidaying without totally wrecking your health/fitness/diet progress.
Sounds like a massive contradiction I know, but stay with me!
Firstly I’m not the Yoda of sleep. In fact I’ve never been a brilliant sleeper. I used to have weekly bouts of insomnia, when no matter how many sheep I counted, I just couldn’t drift off.
But after making one very small change to the bedside table my sleep has seriously improved. And that change? Banishing my iPhone to a far away room.
The following scenario may be familiar to you …
Get into bed with your phone and spend 3 seconds setting the alarm followed by this:
“Ooh I’ll just check Facebook to see if anyone has posted any new Brexit memes. And while I’m at it I’ll scroll through Instagram to see where (insert first name) Kardashian is on vacation. Right, I better get serious now. Let’s have a quick gander at the Sky News app. Oooh did I reply to that email? Better check. Oooooh ASOS has a sale on!”
The small task of setting your alarm has turned into a 45 minute marathon of Facebooking, Instagramming, email replying, ASOS bargain hunting, holiday planning and reading about alien conspiracies.
“But Tom I need my phone next to the bed. It’s got my alarm set for the morning”
Go buy an alarm clock. I bought a nice retro looking Casio one for 6 quid on Amazon. Now you can go to bed without you phone. Leave it in another room.
This ridiculously simple swap has given me an extra hour of shut eye every night. I get to sleep quicker and haven’t wasted the best part of 45 minutes scrolling to find out if Donald Trump is really an alien.
There is also a load of stuff out about blue light (our electronic iThings emit this) and how it affects our internal body clock. It seems that staring at screens before bed tricks your brain into thinking it’s not time for sleepy night nights. Have a Google, it’s actually quite interesting.
IMPORTANT: As you’ve probably realised, I’m not a doctor or sleep scientist. But I know from my own experience how much zingier I feel when I’ve had upwards of 7 hours sleep.
Don’t just take my word for it. According to the NHS sleep improves pretty much everything.
Good night all!
Today’s workout Wednesday is a little less strenuous and a lot more chill.
Just go for a walk. That’s it.
Simply put one foot in front of the other and repeat for as long as you like.
"Walking is a man's best medicine", said Hippocrates. I think he may have been onto something.
Some of the benefits of walking include:
Here's 3 Easy Ways To Get More Steps Into Your Day
So that’s 20 minutes to the station, 20 minutes at lunch time and another 20 minutes home from the station. In total that’s a good hour of walkies throughout the day. Not bad eh?
If you’re not very active at the moment, build up your steps or walking time gradually each day.
One step at a time is good walking.
"Can you give me some ideas for a healthy, low calorie snack to satisfy a sweet craving? (Not fruit!)"
🍏Today's question comes from my newest online coaching client🍎
Easy. Fruit. It’s sweet, tasty, full of nutrients and you can buy it everywhere. Grab some bargain apples and pears from that little market stall next to the station. Or pop into M&S and pick up one of those overpriced, beautifully packaged, super convenient fruit salads. But hey, its not just ANY fruit salad!
🍒Oh wait. You said NOT fruit. No problem. Here’s a list of options that are definitely “healthier” than a chocolate bar.🍌
🍿Just be mindful that some snacks marketed as “healthy” options actually have more calories than a Mars bar! Fruit & nut bars and cereals vary wildly in their calorie content so its a good idea to have look at the labels.🧐
And Mars bars are great too. Just not everyday.🍫
If you have a question you would like me to answer drop it in the comments box below.
I was slightly perplexed at a response I had recently from a new client. Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to perplex me!
When I take on a client, the first thing I do is ask lots of questions. One of these questions is “Do you have a gym membership and what equipment do you have to train with?” The client’s response was “No gym membership but I will join when I get fitter”.
This got me thinking, wondering and scratching my head. Did they think there was a minimum fitness level to go to the gym, were they worried about not knowing what to do or what others might think? Or that they’d get more value for money if they could use more of the equipment? Did they think everyone that goes to the gym is super fit and that they wouldn’t be able to keep up? I wasn’t really sure. It turned out to be a mixture of all these reasons and a few more.
To get better at a pretty much anything you need to do it. Practice makes perfect or it certainly makes you better. Home workouts are absolutely fine but if you have access to a gym then it opens up a whole load more options.
The minimum standard at every gym I’ve ever been to is that you pay. That’s it. I don’t know of any that require you to pass a fitness test. And as I’ve said before, nobody cares what anybody else is doing in the gym.
There is so much scope, especially at modern gyms, for all abilities, fitness levels and preferences. You’d definitely get your money’s worth. Just go. Simply start. With consistent effort, improve you will.