Alignment over Hustle

Alignment over Hustle

Read time: 7 minute read

Being in the business game I constantly see coaches and entrepreneurs talking (or shall we say bragging) about their ‘hustle’ – how hard they work, how many hours they put in, what time they get up in the morning, etc. 

Is hustling really all its cracked up to be? How does it apply to life in general?

Lets compare the two… 

Hustling is a masculine energy; it’s about pushing, controlling, forcing, and working things into place. It’s about doing whatever it takes. It’s a cognitive (thought-centred) process, where you observe what others do, think about how to beat them, and strive to outwork. 

Aligning is a feminine energy, where you lay goals out, and ensure they’re congruent with you personally. It’s about bringing who you are, and what you want to do together, so they can work along side each other. Sounds like the winner already, right? 

I think it depends on the level of success you want to achieve in that particular activity, and the kind of person you are, but assuming we are all women here I am going to propose that you get aligned, before you hustle. 

I learned this lesson the hard way, always working harder, longer, and more effectively than all of my competitors. Yes it brought me a lot of ‘success’ at the time, but it lead me down a pretty dark road to burnout, which left me back peddling in the end. So here I am making sure you don’t make this same mistake!

I learned that simply working hard wasn’t enough. I needed to bring alignment into the mix. 

Alignment + Hustle = Success

Success is not just about beating the competition. It’s about liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. We can thank Maya Angelou for that quote. So before moving forwards you need to have a pretty good idea of the goal posts you’re aiming for.

If you simply want to feel happy, then alignment is literally all you need. If you want to excel however, you need to hustle once you have your aligned and your goals are in place. It’s a constant push and pull between the two energies; we align, then we hustle, and repeat this process over the long haul until our goals have been achieved. 

How to apply this ‘alignment over hustle’ principle 

In general nutrition/health/weight loss goals, you align by making sure you’re losing weight for the right reasons, and that you are using a method that works with your body. That is enough to get you great results. The hustle comes in when you’re partaking in a competitive sport such as bodybuilding, or wanting to lose that extra 5% in the end. 

In training/exercise, you align by finding a training regimen that you enjoy, is at your experience level, and is well balanced. Working with your body, and not overstepping your physical capacity, is essential. You hustle when you want to excel, after you have laid the foundations down

In business and at work, you align by working out what you want to gain from your business, regardless of outward ‘success’ markers. You hustle once you know why you are doing what you’re doing, and where you want to end up.

In relationships, I believe alignment is really the only thing you need. If you have to hustle someone to be your partner or friend, or hustle your family to do what you want, they’re probably not your people.

Finding alignment, with yourself and your goals

Finding alignment means finding out who you are on a deeper level. Remember that finding alignment is essentially a feminine energy, and feminine energy is PASSIVE. It works better when it’s aligned first. 

STEP 1: You have to get quiet. Take a break from the ‘noise’ of the outside world. Meditate, go to the beach, or sit alone in your favourite café. Tuning out the outside world is the only real way you can work out what is going on for you, on the inside

STEP 2: Ask yourself some deeper questions; is what I’m doing making me happy? Do I have a clear goal? Am I energised, or exhausted? Do I feel supported, or isolated? Be honest with yourself here. 

STEP 3: Work out what you can let go of, and what to focus your attention on. Work out how you are going to ensure you don’t get caught up in other peoples ‘hustle’, and stay aligned with yours. 

Simple, right?

If you find yourself cringing at the idea of this whole suggestion, it’s a sure-fire sign you need to do a lot of work in this area!

Without alignment, we risk losing connection with our deeper wants and needs. We risk going a million miles in the wrong direction. We risk never discovering, or losing sight of our own unique gifts and talents. We also risk burning out and having to backpedal, which in itself is extremely stressful. Been there, done that.

Jen x

Why your Nutrition and Programming Needs to be Personalised if you are Serious About Getting Results

Why your Nutrition and Programming Needs to be Personalised if you are Serious About Getting Results

Read time: 7 minute read

Body re-composition can be a complex, layered process. Some people respond easily and others don’t, and this is simply unavoidable. Genetics, your athletic background and your emotional/mental state play a HUGE part in this.

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I find men often respond easier than women, which comes down to hormones, as well as attitude. Women have been prayed on and taught to hate their bodies for years, and I hear it ALL the time, women saying ‘nothing works for me’, but 9/10 of those women are following generic nutrition and training plans. With the right support and programming/nutrition, transformation is definitely not impossible. The same applies to men when it comes to achieving optimal strength/nutrition

What needs to be considered though is that EVERYONE is different, and I can tell you from personal experience that if I didn’t personalize my clients meal/training programs, AT LEAST 80% of them wouldn’t have gotten any tangible results.

So, why does your programming need to be individualized?

Because you have you own experience level, weak points, strong points, levers, limb lengths, schedules, lifestyles, preferences, etc. Programming should become more difficult over time if you wish to get stronger over time. Likewise, if you follow the same program or intensity of training forever, your results will eventually halt.

I find the worst examples of ‘halt’ programs are the very generic ones such as body-pump and circuit training. You will get results at first, but after a few months you will just get/stay ‘fit’. This is fine, however if it is body re-composition, or strength development you are after you need to lift weights, and push yourself progressively harder in weight/volume/intensity in order to keep getting results. And this needs to be teed up with a good nutritional plan. The human body is like an adaptation machine.

I follow a basic template with my girls as most will have similar weaknesses (eg hips and upper back), but I then adapt this template to suit individual requirements. NONE of them are exactly the same, unless one client has the exact same circumstances as another.

Why does your food plan need to be individualised?

Because no one is the same hormonally, metabolically, physiologically, psychologically, and no one has the same history. Many fitness/nutrition businesses these days work on the following model – make three templates, hand out the closest one to the client, cross fingers, hope for the best. If it doesn’t work, scrap that person and highlight the person that it does work for. It’s more of a business model rather than a service model, but the fitness industry is a big-money business now.

Take for example the following women (and for this example, lets just assume that they are all aiming to increase muscle and decrease body-fat so they can feel good in a bikini in summer);

Client 1: Weighs 90kgs, used to suffer from bulimia, has just introduced some light training, has been predominantly inactive throughout her life, and has little or no education about the fundamentals of nutrition

Client 2: Is tall, thin and underweight, and really wants to build muscle. She has tried to in the past but just doesn’t see results, which effects her motivation

Client 3: Suffers depression, allergies and fatigue, walks 3-4 days per week, works and studies full-time, and has two children

Client 4: Is active, has always been active, had a six-pack since childhood and can eat whatever she wants, and generally remains pretty lean

There are some massive differences there, but this kind of variety is NORMAL. All of these women want to change their body composition but each require a totally different approach to their nutrition

So lets assume I give them all the same 1800-calorie meal plan, and the same program with 5 days of weights and two cardio sessions per week. Here is an example of the potential outcome for each of those clients;

Client 1: Could become overwhelmed and drop off very quickly, returning to old habits

Client 2: Will probably get through the training okay but will struggle to stick to that many calories as she will churn through them once she adds the exercise

Client 3: May struggle to find the time and energy to complete all the workouts, which will leave her feeling doubtful and defeated. The training may also add to her fatigue

Client 4: Most likely, she will breeze through, probably even go off the plan here and there because she’s looking good and feeling confident. This is what you call a high-responding client.

So as you can see in that situation, one of these clients has succeeded and the rest aren’t too happy. Which is why they need to be taken care of individually, which takes effort on the part of your coach, but you shouldn’t be expecting anything less.

If you are just aiming to improve your health and overall wellbeing, then a generalized plan will most often suit. These plans are often much cheaper and also serve as a good starting/introductory point.

However, if you have specific goals and you feel like there are a few ‘layers’ that you will need to work through, then you may need support and no matter who you hire for the job, make sure what they write up for you is ESPECIALLY FOR YOU – an individualised plan with a long-term goal in mind

Jen 🙂

9 Benefits to Bodybuilding That Are Rarely Talked About

9 Benefits to Bodybuilding That Are Rarely Talked About

Read time: 4 minute read

Quite often i read posts that complain about bodybuilding competitions, usually from ex-competitors who didn’t enjoy it for one reason or another, or from people who don’t have much knowledge or experience in the sport. Recently I saw a study connecting it to Narcissism! Whilst this is true for some people, its far from true for the women i work with.

Personally I love bodybuilding and I think much can be gained and learned in the process of stepping onstage. So, I thought it was about time to put out some of the GREAT things about competing. When done properly the benefits far outweigh the ‘negatives’. So these are the reasons I love training women for competition;

1/ It can help to improve your body image and self-esteem 

This one is massive, which is why i put it first. Truth be told, it could flip either way, but that completely depends on your mindset. If you compete with the intention of seeing what you are capable of, and bringing YOUR best body forward, you will walk away feeling pretty amazing about your achievements. Going into it with the intention of winning, or looking like someone else will leave you feeling completely the opposite. Competing can be a really great way of learning to love and appreciate your body for what it is, in a whole new way.

2/ It teaches you about what your body needs and how healthy it is

When you compete, it is crucial that you are on a healthy eating plan. IIFYM works for some, but not most women. Your body stores fat out of stress, so if your organs aren’t healthy, if your mindset isn’t right, you will have toxins running through your system and hit a few roadblocks along the way to losing body-fat. This may sound ‘bad’, but overcoming these obstacles will improve your overall health, leaving you with a clean slate to work with in the future once you’re done

3/ It shows you what it feels like to be running on good fuel

When right in the middle of your prep, if you are doing it properly (i.e. not starving yourself or smashing yourself on cardio), then you will reach a point where you feel ridiculously healthy, light, and clear-minded. It really teaches you what optimal health feels like, and it’s pretty eye-opening. It gives you something to strive for in everyday life as you will have a new baseline goal from there-on out.

4/ It teaches you some insane will-power

Competing makes you realise how much of our lives revolve around food and drink. Its your birthday? have some cake. Just got a promotion? Go out for drinks. Feeling sad? Go buy a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and sit in bed eating the whole tub. Getting through these situations without ‘caving in’ gives you a chance to actually reflect on these habits which leaves you feeling strong, empowered and in control.

5/ It brings your vulnerabilities to the surface so you can understand yourself better

Competing also makes you realise how much food and drink is used as a way of stuffing down your emotions. This is a pretty big one. Many women have an emotional connection to food, and when feeling low, we overindulge. When you are competing and you don’t squash your feelings down with food, it forces you to learn to understand yourself better – your patterns, your insecurities, and your vulnerabilities. The more you know yourself, the stronger you will be both inside and out.

6/ When you step off stage, you feel like you could conquer anything 

Usually when you set this goal of competing, you aren’t 100% sure if you will be able to do it. You are also not aware of the challenging journey ahead until you’re right in the middle of it. Once you get off that stage, and you think back about all the obstacles you had to overcome to achieve it, you seriously feel like you can conquer anything.

7/ You get to wear sparkly things and essentially, perform on stage 

This one is superficial but, its one of the reasons I did it. If you have a dance background, you love to perform, and you LOVE going to the gym, this is an awesome way to express yourself and all your hard work in the most feminine way.

8/ You can make great friends

If you find yourself in a great team, you will make friends for life. You share struggles and triumphs and these are the key to building great friendships. Most of the people competing will have the same motivations as you; self-improvements, empowerment, a love for good food and physical fitness. Who doesn’t want friends like that??

9/ It’s practically an art-form – a way of expressing yourself

So this one is why i did it. I am creative by nature and i loved the idea of using the body as a canvas and sculpting it how i wanted it to be. So, it’s art. Weight lifting has countless benefits, and being able to create a shape you love can seriously improve your body-confidence and self-expression.

So there you have it. This isn’t to say that I don’t think there are a lot of things that could be improved, things that could go wrong, or that there aren’t certain things to be considered before you take the leap, but that is a different post altogether. The trick to making it a great experience is to find the right guidance and a good team fit for you. Then you will walk away from the experience a happier, stronger, and more empowered woman

Jen 🙂

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Changing those Habits that are Holding you Back

Changing those Habits that are Holding you Back

Read time: 4 minute read

‘What you resist, persists’ – Carl Jung

Everything that goes on in our life stems from the things that we think about, and every decision we make has more power if it is backed with a positive intention.

Generally when we set out to ‘quit’ something, its because its something that we cannot stop, and we know it is bad for us. So we decide we are going to avoid it at all costs, and in doing that we are setting a negative intention from the start. In the sense of nutrition, saying ‘I will not eat sugar’ or ‘I will resist junk food’ is most often counterproductive as it sets your mind on a cycle of thinking about what you DON’T want.

Over the years I have quit heaps of things from junk food to toxic relationships, negative thinking cycles, drinking and binge eating (as have many other women that I work with), and despite what felt like thousands of attempts to put a stop to these behaviours overnight with a simple ‘I will not’, NONE of those things changed without a positive intention, or a change of behaviour in a positive direction

For example, after over-restricting my calories and training twice a day in an attempt to lose weight, I would then (out of under-nourishment and starvation) hit the shops and purchase ALL the foods (even some that I didn’t really even like), and eat them with absolutely no self-control.

Then what happened after? I felt like a failure, I would get angry at myself, and then eventually I would repeat the cycle. It’s a very negative cycle to be caught up in but I see it all the time with many of the women I work with

So here’s a few things to think about if you’re trying to change your habits for the better; 

1/ Focus your energy on starting the new

Forming new habits, new relationships, and new thoughts. So in the case of junk food, instead of thinking ‘don’t eat sugar’ think about eating nourishing foods instead, and enough of it that you don’t need the junk food 

2/ Try to reflect on the things you are addicted to, and ask yourself ‘why’?

Is it emotional? Are you undernourished? Are you stressed? Most of our addictive behaviours are comforts, or distractions from the struggles of everyday life, and once you pinpoint the reason you can start to work on the root cause, and the result is that the addiction eventually stops. Lack of nutrition is most often the cause of overeating and bingeing 

3/ Once you have put these new habits in place, understand you may go off-track a bit, and it’s completely normal

When it happens, don’t give it any power, understand that everything you have done thus far has been a step in the right direction, further than you have gone before, and get back on track. With positive intentions you will get there a lot faster

It’s always better to focus on the positive, otherwise a lot of energy is being wasted trying to change things that are outside your control, and that’s especially when it comes to food as no matter how much you try and resist something it won’t stop the companies who created it from dropping in right in front of your face (aka advertising). So as the saying says, what you resist, persists. 

In conclusion, If you want to live a healthy and happy life it’s so important to reflect on your addictive behaviours and then make positive changes rather than creating do-or-die scenarios in your head that you struggle to stick to, and leave you feeling like a failure!

Jen ☺

Finding your Inner Strength through Body Transformation

Finding your Inner Strength through Body Transformation

Read time: 8 minute read

Everyone who embarks on a health/lifestyle transformation has one common goal; to become a healthier, happier and stronger version of themselves. There are many choices you need to make along the way when it comes to nutrition, training and mindset that can either make it a journey full of strength and empowerment, or one that can be filled with feelings of disappointment and self-defeat. Here are some tips I learned along my journey, and through other womens journeys, that may help you stay on the path of true strength and empowerment…

1/ Assess whether your goals are realistic or not

This one is make-or-break. Behaviours such as believing everything you see on social media, expecting someone to have the ‘secret’, or using crash-diets as solutions to long-term weight struggles, are health and fitness myths that can lead you down a negative path. Empowered approach: Understand that the world is out to make money! Companies will say anything to get you to buy their products. Your goals however (no matter how big or small), are achievable, if approached in the right way. There are many amazing people in the health and fitness industry that are experienced, realistic and honest. My suggestion is to find a professional, talk to anyone you know and TRUST that has transformed and inspired you, and ask them for their personal perspective on their own journey. Realistic expectations will always serve you in the long run


2/ Focus on the inner wins, not just the physical

Thinking that changing your body is going to make you happier is a disillusion like no other. If your happiness is compromised you tend to want to blame something, and in a world fueled by media’s idea of a ‘perfect woman’, we can often get caught up in thinking its our body that is the culprit. I can tell you from experience that getting ‘hot’ will not make you happy all by itself. Empowered approach: Understand that the way your body looks is quite often a mixture of your genetics and your emotional state. Personally I think body transformation is one of the most empowering things you can do, but its not the end resulting ‘body’ that brings you happiness, but rather the improved nutrition, regular exercise, nervous system adaptations, improved sleep, and your newly-refined rubbish-behaviour-in-your-friends detector (a.k.a your ability to see who wants to see you happy and who wants to see you fail), that gives you this feeling of inner happiness. Buying smaller clothes is great, but it’s truly an afterthought once you have made these changes in your life.

3/ Approach the switch from unhealthy to healthy gradually, and be patient!

Thinking that you can go from an unhealthy lifestyle to one full of nourishment can be unrealistic and disempowering. It can often leave you putting too many restraints on yourself and as saying goes ‘what you resist, persists.’ Once the persistence becomes too much and you ‘cave’, you are likely to be left feeling as if you cannot achieve your goal, and that you are not good enough. Empowered approach: You can, however, change it gradually and even the smallest of changes will lead to positive outcomes. Most often if your lifestyle isn’t optimal then it’s because either you were never taught it, or something has happened in your life that sent you down a less-healthy path. The trick here is not to judge yourself. The first part of lifestyle change is deciding to change, and you have to give yourself the respect you deserve to change it slowly. Think something along the lines of; ‘in 12 months I will be eating healthy at least 90% of the time and exercising 4 days a week’. Then come up with a realistic path to follow that will lead you there. If you ‘slip up’, laugh at yourself, recognize that it’s a part of you that you are ready and willing to let go of – IN TIME – and keep moving forward.

4/ Try to avoid focusing on the scales

Getting caught up in your weight will have you feeling you aren’t getting anywhere. You can gain 5kgs of muscle and lose 5kgs of fat, but you’re still going to weigh the same, so relying on that can take away your power and leave you feeling like you’re not achieving what you want. Empowered approach: If your goal is body transformation or weight-loss, use measurements and photos and appreciate all the little changes along the way. Also remember (as mentioned above) that most of the changes will be ones that have NOTHING to do with your physical appearance, so don’t overlook them.

5/ Avoid comparing yourself to others

Self-comparison is a self-growth killer. Aiming to transform into a replica of your favorite fitness model feels empowering to begin with, but becomes disempowering in the long-run when reality hits and you realise what it takes to achieve the look you’re after. Empowered approach: Keep in mind that you are unique and beautiful in every way before you even begin, and you are just embarking on a journey to a stronger, fitter and healthier you. We all have a unique physical structure which cannot be changed. Sure, someone can inspire you, but at the end of the day your power comes from owning your own space in the world. Use the CONCEPT of an image to inspire you but not the exact ‘look’. This way you will feel like you have ownership of your personal journey to improve on YOURSELF, rather than feeling like your unrealistic attempts – to look like another person – aren’t working.

6/ Be mindful of social media

In terms of business, social media can be deceiving, for many it’s a marketing tool and far from honest and trustworthy. Phone editing is easy to do now and no-one mentions what is really going on behind-the-scenes to achieve the bodies that they are using in exchange for money. You also never really know what, or who, is behind each account. In terms of your personal use, relying on likes or followers to validate you can be disempowering and leave you questioning weather your efforts (which you were pleased with before you posted them) are anything special. Empowered approach: I definitely see nothing wrong with social media if you focus on its positives, being that it’s a place of sharing and inspiration. But you have to see through the crap and be realistic. Some people have thousands of followers and have no idea what they are doing, and some have next-to-no followers and are AMAZING at what they do. I have had clients who have had abs since childhood and some that are meticulous with diet and exercise who have never had them. Abs don’t always equal expertise. So, use social media to inspire you to change and if your are detached from the outcome then go ahead and share, but don’t allow the result to leave you feeling doubtful about your own journey, and keep in mind that if something seems to good to be true, it usually is.

The biggest take-away here really is just to always keep in mind that transformation takes time in ANY discipline. There is much to be gained from changing your lifestyle for the better, but true empowerment comes from a healthy and realistic attitude, respecting yourself and your individual journey, having integrity, and staying true to yourself!

Jen

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