What issues were holding you back before you signed up?
I guess like any other examples of potential behavioual change it comes down to being ready.
Having the knowledge that I wanted to change things allowed me to reflect on past attempts and what went wrong with them.
There was always the reality and the excuse that work was and continues to be busy and a major focus of my time and energy.
There was also the worry that I didn’t know where to start with a fitness program or how to progress with it or how to prevent myself from being so sore the following day.
And then there was my confidence issue.
The idea of walking into a crowded gym or latterly even running down the street was met with thoughts about what people would think of me, red-faced, sweaty, fat, slow, weak and what was I doing thinking I should be there.
It ws a really powerful and inhibitory cognition which of course was simply completing the full circle of inactivity and not changing as there was no point trying.
What were the main lessons you learned working with Andy?
My better nutrition started with an honest and accountable appreciation of what I was eating, what I wasn’t eating to fuel my body and what I was drinking.
The meal diary that forms one of the key focuses of the Academy is something which I continue to use regularly.
The one-to-one sessions with Andy were so very informative both in regards to nutrition & fat loss and to training as it needs both to succeed.
These were further expanded on in the video tutorials posted on the Academy’s website.
At no point was anything banned or off limits but there does need to be a strong nutritional foundation underpinning the changes I have made.
If I make the decision to have my favourite sweet treat etc then it is done within the proper context; working for it and making it count.
Am I never going to celebrate a special occasion or a long overdue reunion with friends in a properly nice restaurant for the fear that it is going to disrupt my restrictive “chicken and broccoli diet”?
Of course not; to do so is socially unhealthy and unsustainable.
Get the key things right and it allows you flexibility.
One of these key things that I changed over the past year and a half is breakfast.
Since my adolescence I never ate breakfast necessitating convenient, usually sugary, snacks as my first meal of the day around 11am. Coffee and four or five biscuits whilst sitting in front of my morning admin work was my usual.
Over time I have introduced breakfasts before leaving the house and not only that but breakfasts which are balanced and nutritious and continues to shock my mum in particular!
Fibrous vegetables and lean protein sources for breakfast took a while to accept but once the understanding was there it has become my favourite meal of the day.
There is such a wide variety that it offers more interest to the otherwise inexplicably acceptable norm of chocolately/ sugary breakfast cereal or jam-laden toast.
This is a long way of saying that the main nutrition lessons I learned working with Andy come down to this: accountability & honesty, get the foundations right most of the time and continue to use food as a source of enjoyment & pleasure and buck the social norms and ask yourself why and when we eat.
After all, when it comes to food choices your body doesn’t know the difference between 7pm on a Saturday evening or 7am on a Monday morning.
Then it comes to the main lessons I learned about my training.
By far the most important for me is technique – get that right and it allows you to target the muscles you want to and prevents injury and pain.
Go slow, be deliberate, resist the temptation to use momentum even if it does allow you to hoist heavier weights before they come crashing down.
And the next important one for me, now that I train more independently, nobody really cares about what you look like or how fat you look or how light your weight settings are.
Everyone in the gym that I now go to are doing their own thing, as I am doing mine.
I have a set routine that I need to get through (as set out by the Academy website) and I just do it.
I can now do this alongside other gym users armed with the skills and tecnhique that I have learned; something I could not imagine doing at the start of this process.
I am not saying that it was easy, it took a while to be comfortable and there remains in my gym the final hurdle of “the scary room” which is full of the really heavy weights and the really loud grunty guys (but I have ventured in when the place has been quiet and given things a go, taking a wee selfie to prove it!)
Summary – go slow and learn technique rather than focus on the weight numbers, we all start somewhere, be mindful when you’re training as most others are in a mindful state of mind too and won’t bother you.