CAN YOU HAVE IT ALL: Strong, lean, healthy AND happy?

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Can you feel strong lean content and healthy all at the same time in optimal amounts? 

I feel like in fitness, after we get over the initial "I jus I just want a 6 pack with a waist as small as Marilyn Monroe and hips Shakira would lie for along with legs the length of my to do list, we begin to have in mind other goals. 

It's hard to see the wood for the trees as you scroll through your feed. Got chicks here, muscle men there,info that sounds legit, researched, scientific. 

It's hard to not wanna do what (insert Instagram crush here) is doing cos look at the shape on her... "I want me summa that" I'm not immune to that. In January a very popular fitness Instagram profesh was selling a program. She's gowgeous. Her body is excuse the phrase "bangin"  

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Let's remember I am a qualified PT. I have also been doing both of but reading up & listening to as much "good solid" information about exercise and nutrition as well as coach myself through 5 months of bikini comp training,I'm not the most qualified, but I know better. I KNOW BETTER! And yet I still had the thought (and it came to me as quickly as I can wolf down a packet of kinder bon bons (pre plant based life) the thought that "if I buy her guide maybe I will end up with a body like (name beginning WIT G and ending in E) Hey Grace if ya reading this. Love ya girl. 

I, still, knowing what I know, train in how I've trained, thought that if I did her guide I would look like she does (amazing btw if u don't follow her already u should, not just cos she's but cos she's funny & gives great content. As quickly as the thought came, another thought came to me. These thoughts dint used to come to me at all and I used to believe my initial thoughts, but as times gone on, I've learnt to counter act my shit chat with logic and I realised...  "I won't ever have that body because

A) it's not my body, full stop, even if we have similar shape, her bod is hers and if it was mine, I'd probably critique it more than I ever should. 

B) I don't have her boobs. Not in a woe is me my boobs are small type way, but in a... I just. don't have big boobs and therefore my shape inevitably looks different. It's a fact. 

Its not that her program wouldn't work. It will. And I can assure you it's a good program, I bought it cos I'm a nosey cow.  I defo say try it out, heres a link plus she is selling booty bands and I am 100% going to purchase them. 

But my point, most programs work, if you follow them. And for some reasons a little kafuffling, we don't often follow things to a tee and after 4 weeks skip out, or don't read the info properly or don't give it our all. 

But if We followed the instructions, implemented progressive overload, ate well (and that doesn't mean eating little, I mean well) and stayed consistent, we would all see results... ALL (and of course there are exceptions to the rule) but when I say ALL I mean generally all. So maybe I shouldn't cap it lol. But you get my point. 

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What was your point actually Danni? 

How to feel lean, content healthy and strong all at once? 

Ah yes. Is it possible?

Ah well... 

It is,and it isn't. It can be and it can't? 

 

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Great. Useful. You just read all this mumbo jumbo to here about Gracefituk who u already follow and love and now you've wasted valuable IG scrolling time! 

WAIT. Hear me out. If you've got this far you may as well give it another 5 (maybe 15 mins) 

To be your fittest optimally (and have am all encompassing well round feel of all the 4 things above) we have to decide what fitness really means to us. 

Is it a 6 pack? A thigh gap? Lifting double our body weight? Running up stairs? Waking up feeling good? Eating without guilt? Which one stands out? Which one hits a nerve. List them in priority. Because that is what you will need to decide upon. Your priorities. To have all 4 fitness goals at their optimals may be impossible. 

Optimal is one of those words that gets thrown around in The fitness industry a lot. So maybe I'll change it to expectations. 

You may need to lower your expectations. And I'm not saying that means give up, don't bother at all and wallow in a crisps and dips eating, pyjamas wearing depression. We are not all Jenifer Lopez. We are mere humans. We are living, working, menstruating, eating cake, adulting (or trying to) and to reach expectations beyond what being healthy may actually look like is not always sustainable. (unless you are the exception to the rule, but lets, for arguments sake, say that none of us are)

At the start of my fitness journey I assumed I'd be so lean even Geri Halliewell circa her "yoga" phase, would be jel. I also imagined I'd squat double my body weight, do a trillion pull ups and that whilst doing so rainbows and fairy dust would shoot out my bum in glittery covered health pooticles good enough to bath my gorgeous glowing healthy skin in and I would be so content I would never think about a diet or exercise ever again!!! THIS LIFE DOESN'T EXIST BTW!

Being lean meant being healthy right? And being healthy meant being fit and being fit meant I was no longer that lazy, ice cream eating miserable cow bag that hated her body so much it made her cry. I had goals. They were multiplying. They were losing control... 

Ok look!

When I was my leanest I wasn't able to spontaneously go out for dinner date nights. If we did, it wasn't for French fries covered in truffle oil. These two things, dinner and French fries, bring me joy and happiness. They make me content if not a little smelly. Also when I was at my leanest there was no way I was squatting double my body weight. I was just about managing to get my 3 he 6 days a week workouts in, let alone have the up most strength for heavy heavy lifts. I needed to reserve my energy to just 'be' and also do that stupid amount of double cardio (prep life isn't real life) 

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Conversely, when I began eating more, I became stronger. Post comp I started strength training and enjoyed feeling like wonder woman. But despite my strength. I would get injured, I also found myself feeling bloated and heavy and gaining weight rapidly post comp (and this can be post any diet life) My period came back so health goal check. But my mentality wasn't healthy. I worried constantly about weigh gain. I beat myself up for not being good enough that I couldn't stay lean. I was anxious and it took a long while to find my happy again.

Being my leanest dint bring me my happiest, most content self. Neither did being strong. My content'ness wasn't found in how strong or how fit I seemed. I could do a plyo push up and 10 pull ups in a row, but I was dealing with other issues that made the journey hard and ultimately wasn't healthy.

Find what your really search in for.

Is it really to be your leanest self? Cos this might mean no fries or ice cream. Yes you can eat those thing. Daily if you please and you can still be lean. But are you ok being 18% body fat and not 13%? 

Do you really want to bulk? Grow so much muscle you feel a bit out of sorts. Or your lifting so much you get injured more times than you can train? 

There is nothing essentially wrong with dieting down and being lean, or bulking up or eating loads or having aesthetic goals... it's what our expectations deem ideal and how we then get that ideal that mucks us up. It isn't lifting heavy or eating more that is the issue, but how we program our training and know our bodies limits to not push it too far and also eat in a normal way rather than stuffing our faces till we feel sick. It's learning about you and your needs, wants and compromises.

There is a balance. You can live lean, get strong, feel content and healthy. 

Just remember being lean isn't being fatless. We need some for health. Being healthy also isn't eating kale whilst training 6 days a week. It might be healthier for you to train 4 days and eat ice cream sandwiches once a week

 Being strong doesn't mean training and lifting so much you do it all the time with no phases in your training, constantly trying to hit PBs in the gym. Also being fit doesnt mean you can do 100 burpees followed by 60 mins uphill sprints and then hip thrust 250kg for 100 reps,if it takes you 5 days to recover. 

 

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The middle ground is boring. The balance isn't sexy. 

The "20% body fat, 2 pack, thighs touching but in good shape, can do 20 mins hiit and run up stairs but not do somersault with a 80kg barbell, sometimes gets spots but most times have normal skin, eating cake each week but eating ya greens and proteins daily, takes an ok selfie but doesn't look like (insert Instagram crush here) stuff" isn't the hierarchy of all our expectations. But that doesn't mean any of that isn't worth achieving. 

If you want more help on how to find the balance, subscribe to the blog on the home page as, I will be posting more and more content and coaching discounts on there in the future. 

But for now. 

Eat the cake, dance in ya undies and love your life. Losing 95% of it for 5% body fat isn't worth it.

Trust me

Click on the pics to see how a Zaful bikini looks in many ways. Dont be fooled by posing :)