Over the past couple of years since I started blogging, I’ve experienced a complete 180 on certain things related to nutrition and training. I thought it would be fun to talk about how and why I came to change my opinion. One task I would like to tackle in the new year is a complete overhaul of my pages and featured posts, as I don’t necessarily agree with what I have written in the past.
1. Train with other people
For a long time, I preferred training on my own. I did make a few attempts at training with other people but ultimately always preferred to ride solo. When I switched gyms back in June, I started training with other people. I now have two lifting buddies I train with at least twice a week, as well as usually doing one session with my trainer and another session at work where I will typically lift with Rob. On the rare occasion I’m on my own at the gym, I never really feel alone as almost everyone there feels like a friend.
However, if I train in the middle of the afternoon, I’m typically alone in the gym. I have no idea what to do with myself. I find it hard to attempt maximal weights or any kind of challenging exercise, when I don’t have someone barking in my ear. Plus, I feel like my lifts don’t count unless I have someone watching me.
This is going to make me sound like a complete loser, but when I think about what would happen if I was denied a visa to stay in the UK (we were supposed to find out last Wednesday but the visa office is taking its sweet time!), the only thing that really tears me up is the idea of leaving my gym and lifting buddies behind. Wah.
2. Lift for strength and not aesthetics
I wrote a whole post about this recently, but when I started lifting, I had zero desire to be strong. I just wanted to look good and, if lifting was the best way to get there, then so be it! It wasn’t until I matured and made some personal realisations that inspired me to focus on strength. Of course, lifting naturally gives you an aesthetically pleasing body, but it is not the main reason why I lift anymore.
3. Train in the evening
This is another thing that has changed since I changed gyms. I have always been someone that loved working out first thing in the morning, around 7.30-8am. Now you couldn’t pay me to lift that early! It helps that my gym doesn’t open until 9.30am, but even that is too early.
When I had previously tried training after work in the evenings, I hated it as I had no energy and felt like I should have been at home working or relaxing. By ensuring I eat enough and drink enough caffeine, I now feel much stronger in the evenings. Plus I tend to eat more on days I train in the evenings, so it’s a win-win.
4. Eat carbs every single night, and with most meals
I used to be such a damn carbophobe. I was only “allowed” carbs immediately pre- and post-workout and, because I trained in the morning, that meant no carbs in the evening! On rest days, I mentally struggled having carbs at any meal other than breakfast. It’s true that when you deprive yourself of something it’s all you want. I didn’t care for carbs during the day, but all I wanted at night was carbs on carbs on carbs.
Thankfully, I pulled my head in and figured there must be a reason why my body craves carbs in the evening. I now always eat my biggest, and most carb-heavy, meal of the day at night. I learnt that my body responds much better when I backload carbs, as carbs in the morning give me brain-fuzz, so all that time spent depriving myself was only doing me a disservice. I usually load up on protein and fat instead at breakfast, and introduce carbs from lunch onwards.
5. Eat “junk” food on the reg
When it comes to looking at my old blog posts, I cringe the most when reading how restrictive I really was: no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no alcohol… hell, I was scared of having carrots and peppers because of their carb content! I turned my nose up at foods that weren’t “clean” and thought it was the only way I could achieve my body goals.
I also used to be a big proponent of having a weekly cheat meal. While they are good in theory, they created an unhealthy relationship with food. I would save up all my “bad” food for one big blowout meal, which would leave me feeling sick and guilty. I gradually stopped having a single cheat meal and, when I saw that nothing bad happened, learnt to spread my “treats” over the course of a week.
I no longer label my food as good or bad. Food always fulfils a purpose. Most of the time I crave foods that best fuel my performance such as lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, but often I know that a pint of ice cream or a mocha frappucino will fuel an amazing PR. I don’t stop and ask how many “cheats” I’ve had that week – I just enjoy the food and move on.
What are some of the things you’ve changed your mind about when it comes to nutrition or exercise?