Supercharge your new year motivation

January is here! It’s a time when we’re looking back at everything that’s happened in 2018. The things that we have achieved and the things that we let slip to the wayside. It’s a time when motivation is high, where we can wash off all past attempts and approach things as a clean slate a fresh start!

So now, when your motivation is at its highest. You’re looking to join a gym. Here’s our tips for making sure you achieve your new body goals.

1) Set realistic, detailed goals.

Whatever your plan, you must be consistent for it to be effective. Don’t get stuck in the trap of ‘what’s best’ on paper. What’s best FOR YOU is going to be the plan you can stick to. Ask yourself:

Is my goal realistic?

If you’ve never lost weight before then losing 2lb a week is fast. Over a year that would be 100lbs. Time is your friend. Ask yourself:

Am i going to be able to stick to this… in 3 months time?

Can you see yourself still doing it at Easter? If not, go back a step and pick a target that works. You can always do more as it gets easier.

2) Do things one step at a time.

Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to train.

For example you don’t need the perfect diet or routine if for the last 3 months or more you’ve not trained or watched what you eat.

Procrastinating on getting everything perfect stops a lot of us from getting started or can lead to early burn out. We call this waiting for the stars to line up.

If you wait for the stars to line up it’s rare you’re going to get the opportunity.

Instead do things one step at a time. Often making one positive change will lead to another. After you’re into a routine of training naturally you’ll want to start eating better so if you have a bit of faith you can focus on getting into training and then as that becomes easy you can then put your focus into food.

3) Make a plan and hold yourself accountable.

You’ve heard the saying. ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’

It works for the simple stuff too.

Once you’ve made a plan be specific and go into detail.

If your plan is to train 3x per week, what days are you going to train?

Having a routine gives you something to stick to on the days when you’re not quite feeling it.

It also gives you a structure to plan around so things don’t accidentally get in the way. It keeps training high up on your priority list which you need to do if you want to look a certain way by April or June.

4) FOOD – Start with the basics

This applies to newbies and seasoned pros who’ve just got a bit comfy over the year.

Before going no-carb, joe wicks or paleo. Are you still doing the small changes that make a difference?

  • Are you eating breakfast?
  • Are you taking a lunch to work?
  • Can you honestly say you’re getting 3 meals a day?
  • Have you cut out takeaways? (or why not try cooking a fakeaway at home)
  • Are you avoiding sugary drinks (diet ones are fine) Are you avoiding alcohol?
  • Do you have a portion of protein with each meal.
  • Do you drink 2 litres of water a day.

Making these changes will cut out 80% of the high calorie foods in your diet which aren’t productive to weight loss. They’ll make sure your body has most of what it needs to recover after a workout. You’ll be eating more food that fill you up for longer and it will have a positive impact on your blood sugar levels which is good for appetite as-well as balanced energy levels throughout the day.

You want to be ticking yes to all of those before you get into calorie counting, or cutting out your carbs.

If not, brilliant. Focus on using January to make these an habit. Don’t be afraid to make weight loss simple.

5) Form Habits and Routines.

We’ve all said it before, ‘I just need a little more motivation.’

That motivation comes. We work hard for a week.. maybe 2 weeks and then things start to slow or we revert to know what we know.

That’s because motivation is finite. It runs out and we run on what we know, our habits, lifestyles and routines.

On the other side of the coin there’s those people who always train, always eat well, asif it’s effortless. That’s because it’s their routine which is what we need to create.

It takes 21 days to form a habit so this isn’t always a quick process however you do gather pace and your progress becomes like a snowball rolling down an hill.

The secret to doing well is doing it consistently over time. To do that we need routines. That’s the secret to athletes, it’s their lifestyle.

Break goals down and build them up one step at a time.

6) Train for more than just fat loss.

Enjoying what you do is key!

On the face off things weight loss is simple. Eat less calories and move more.Sticking to it is much harder…

You will have much more motivation to go to the gym if you’re seeing a performance increase too.  

Are you getting stronger? Are you getting fitter? Are you learning something new? Have you set up your program so you can see these things?

If you’re only measure of training is how much you sweat then you’re not going to see progression. As you get fitter you will do more and you will still be sweaty and out of breath.

7) Train with weights

Weights can be used to:

  • Burn fat.
  • Build strength.
  • Build muscle.
  • Tone up.
  • Get fitter.
  • Boost your metabolism.
  • Injury rehab & prevention.

They’re proven to be good for just about everyone.

When you take in less energy than your body needs it has to look for that energy elsewhere. Mostly this comes from fat which is good BUT your body can also burn muscle too.

We need to maintain our muscle for a toned look so we need to do something to prevent this which is why we train with weights.

More muscle also burns more fuel which is why trainers recommend weights as part of a fat loss program.

Weights are as flexible as the programming. 3 sets of 10 can be a good place to start while you learn the movements however you’re not restricted to just that.

You can mix your reps from 3 – 30 depending on whether your goal is strength, building muscle, toning, fitness or anything in between.

8) Use free weights over machines.

Machines are designed to assist you. They have their place in terms of ease of use and gyms will use their vast array of equipment to sell you a membership but that’s not to say they’re best.

By assisting you they’re also doing some of the work your body should be doing. They are not letting your muscle stables like they should or engaging your core like compound free weights movements might.

You can work all you body with; Squats, KB Swings, Deadlifts, Lunges, Press up, Pull ups (bodyweight or assisted), Bent over rows and Standing Shoulder Presses.

If you’re not confident doing one of these yourself, ask one of the trainers in your gym to show you. They wont charge you for a 5 minute exercise demo.

9) Talk to trainers.

Finally. Speak to the staff in your gym.

Some trainers have a bad reputation for just trying to sell to you but don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.

A good trainer should do the job because they enjoy helping people.

If you’re going to work with someone do your research.

Are they qualified?
Have they experience of training?
Have they experience of getting results for others?  

If you need a demo on an exercise. If you’re unsure about what the next step should be talk to someone who has walked the path. Someone who has had experience of helping others and let them save you a bit of time.

As trainers we’re always happy to hand out a bit of advice. Drop us a message or pick up the phone.

Remember, whatever you do. Think towards April, are you going to still be enjoying it then. Best of luck!

Sean – Next Level Fitness

Recipe: Vegan Burgers


“Here’s something a little different, slightly more tricky, but still simple… It’s vegan friendly, 0 grams of saturates, and very low in kcal, fat and salt. That’s what you call next level, what more could you ask for?”

Nutritional Information (per burger, without buns)

  • 252 Calories
  • 54g Carbs
  • 5g Protein
  • 2g Fat

Ingredients

  • 6 large sweet potatoes (about 1½ kg/3lb 5oz)
  • 2 tsp oil, plus extra for the trays
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped (deseeded if you like)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 340g can sweetcorn, drained
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • 200g polenta
  • buns, salsa, onion and salad leaves, to serve

Directions

1 – Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Pierce the potato skins and place on a baking tray. Bake for 45 mins until really soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan, add the onions and chillies, and cook for 8-10 mins until soft. Leave to cool.
2 – Peel the potatoes and add the flesh to a bowl with the chilli onions. Mash together with the spices until smooth. Using your hands, mix in the sweetcorn, coriander, half the polenta and some seasoning. Shape the mixture into 10 burgers; it will be quite soft. Carefully dip each one into the remaining polenta; dust off any excess. Place burgers on oiled baking trays and chill for at least 30 mins. You can wrap and freeze the burgers at this stage.
3 – Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook on oiled baking trays for 15 mins. Serve in buns with a dollop of salsa, some onion and salad leaves.

Makes 10 Burgers

Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 mins approx

Try it and let us know what you think in the comments below:


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Recipe: Sugar-Free Lemon Drizzle Cake


“This one’s a favourite of one of our personal trainers Jordan… love your cakes? Well here’s a treat for you even if you want to stick to that fat loss program you may be on. This recipe is less calories and suger free but still taste’s delicious! 
Xylitol is a natural sweetener made from the bark of birch trees. It looks and tastes like sugar and can be used as a substitute in many recipes. It is low GI and therefore has less impact on blood sugar levels. It is available from large supermarkets and health food shops.”

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • 280 Calories
  • 44.3g Carbs
  • 5.4g Protein
  • 14g Fat

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour, sifted
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 225g xylitol
  • 2 lemons, zest only
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 200g 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • For Drizzle:
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 50g xylitol

Directions

1 – Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ Gas 4. Grease and line a 1.2 litre loaf tin with baking parchment. (Recommend size, 22cm x 13cm width, 7cm depth)
2 – Mix together the flour, baking powder, xylitol and lemon zest in a large bowl.
3 – Mix the eggs, sunflower oil, milk and yoghurt together in a separate bowl or jug and stir them into the flour mixture.
4 – Spoon into a tin and smooth the surface. Transfer to the oven immediately, bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 mins. Check after 50 mins, if the cake is becoming too dark, cover loosely with foil.
5 – Just before the end of cooking time, make the drizzle by heating the lemon juice and xylitol. Stir over a low heat until the xylitol has dissolved. Once the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven and pour over the drizzle.
6 – Cool in the tin before turning it out.

Makes 10 slices

Preparation time: 1 hour 15 mins approx

Try it and let us know what you think in the comments below:


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Recipe: Chocolate Nut Pancakes

“These delicious pancakes are perfect as a little treat on a cozy Sunday morning. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, black cherries (fresh or frozen) and some grated dark chocolate.”

Nutritional Information (per pancake)

  • 148 Calories
  • 9g Carbs
  • 10g Protein
  • 8g Fat

Ingredients

  • 25g coconut flour
  • 25g chocolate flavour whey or rice protein powder
  • 30g whole porridge oats (use gluten free oats if preferred)
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp stevia (or natural sweetener of your choice)
  • 20g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa), grated
  • 15g crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar)
  • 10g coconut oil

Directions

  • Put all of the ingredients except for the oil into a blender and mix together. Add a dash of water if necessary to achieve the right consistency. The mixture should be quite thick yet runny enough to pour.
  • Heat some of the coconut oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium/high heat. Pour one quarter of the mixture into the centre of the pan.
  • Move the pan around gently to even out the mixture into a circular shape. When small holes appear in the pancake (around 1-2 minutes), turn or flip it over and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes.
  • Transfer pancake to a plate. Add more oil to the pan and repeat the process four times with the remaining batter.

Chocolate nut pancakes2

Makes 5 pancakes

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Try it and let us know what you think in the comments below:


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Recipe: 5 Veg Omelette

 

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • 210 Calories
  • 4g Carbs
  • 17g Protein
  • 14g Fat

Ingredients

5 veg omelette1

  • 3 medium sized eggs plus
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 10g organic butter or coconut oil
  • 2 closed cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 medium sized broccoli florets, finely chopped
  • 30g red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • Himalayan sea salt to season
  • handful baby leaf spinach, roughly chopped
  • 10g low fat Cheddar cheese, grated (use dairy free cheese if preferred)

Directions

  • Break the eggs and whites into a jug and beat with a fork and season well.
  • Melt half of the butter / oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add all of the chopped vegetables except for the spinach.
  • Sauté for 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Remove any bits from the pan.
  • Melt the remaining butter. Pour the eggs into the pan. Cook gently for around 3-4 minutes until the edges of the mixture start to crisp.
  • When the centre of the omelette begins to firm up, add the spinach over the entire omelette.
  • Then carefully add the other vegetables on top of the spinach, so that it wilts. Cook for around 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the cheese. Using a wooden slice fold the omelette in half.
  • Remove the omelette from the pan and serve.

5 veg omelette2

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

Try it and let us know what you think in the comments below:


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