A 19 year old fitness enthusiast and dedicated Olympic style weightlifter. I am a Level 2 Weightlifting coach, Powerlifter, and non-competitive Irish dancer. I'm determined to live a healthier lifestyle and take care of my body whilst influencing other young people to do so. I never doubt my ability to achieve something; I just change what I'm doing until I succeed.
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Personally, I love eating breakfast every morning. I feel physically and mentally weaker when I don't eat. However, this may not be the same for everyone. You may wake up in the morning and never feel hungry until lunchtime. In this post, I'm going to discuss the importance of breakfast, how you can start eating in the morning (if you don't already), what makes a good morning meal and some examples of what I eat for breakfast.
Why is breakfast important?
Breakfast is the first meal you eat in the day, as you are 'breaking your fast''. This means that because you have been asleep for a long amount of time, you haven't eaten. When you're asleep, you lose calories, energy and your blood sugar drops. Therefore, when you first wake up your body will want to restore your energy and blood sugar levels to help you get through the day. Although a teenagers brain isn't scientifically at its best until 10am, you will want to have enough energy to make sure you're as mentally and physically prepared for school as you can be. If you don't eat until lunchtime, you may feel more irritable, sleepy or less productive at the beginning of your day. Breakfast is especially important if you are active first thing in the morning. If you don't eat anything before doing sports in the morning, your body may be weaker and not have as much energy. This could cause you to feel ill and affect your performance.
Struggles with eating breakfast
In primary school, I wouldn't always feel like eating breakfast as I would feel sick in the morning. Other times, I wouldn't have much time to eat before school. These are just two reasons why you may not eat breakfast, there could be many more. I can't remember how I began eating breakfast again, but I do have some good tips now on how to start eating in the morning.
What makes a good breakfast?
Its obvious that some food is better than others for breakfast, but I'm not going to discuss that in this post. However, I will talk about food which I eat for breakfast and what I don't recommend eating first thing in the morning. First of all, if you cannot get hold of healthy breakfast food then simply make the most of what you have and perhaps convince whoever does your shopping that you'd like to try something else. If I'm in a rush, I'll usually grab something quickly like fruit or granola with yoghurt. But usually I'll eat something like protein weetabix, porridge, banana pancakes, acai bowls, toast or some form of egg. Most of these things i'll eat with fruit and sometimes yoghurt. I recommend eating any food which is high in protein, fibre and carbohydrates in the morning but try to avoid sugary cereals, chocolate, sweets and energy drinks. There's no problem in having a small amount of these foods later in the day, but in the morning your body will receive a huge rush of energy which could result in a sugar crash. This would mean you'd feel fatigued and weak, preventing you from working hard and thinking as clearly than if you'd eaten a proper breakfast.
Healthy breakfast examples
Banana pancakes are probably my favourite thing to eat for breakfast and they're especially nice to eat whilst relaxing in the morning sunshine on a weekend. I use two bananas and two eggs (you can use one banana and one egg or other numbers of these ingredients depending on how many pancakes you want). Once I've mixed them together, I simply pour the mixture into a greased frying pan (left to heat on medium). After that, I'll flip them to let them cook on each side before serving them with yoghurt and fruit. Before I'd made these, I had very little confidence and knowledge when using a frying pan but soon began to try making different food after trying this recipe. Its easy, tasty and definitely healthy.
Another example of something easy to make for breakfast is an acai bowl. Now if you aren't sure what an acai bowl is, then let me explain. Acai bowls are commonly made by some health cafe's in America (sadly there are few in England) and health freaks like me. It consists of blended fruit/ frozen fruit, sometimes protein or acai powder and fruit juice or milk. To top it off, you can add more fruit, seeds, raisins, nuts, granola and other toppings. The word Acai is a type of fruit which used to be served with fish in Amazonian countries as a dinner recipe. Eventually the trend passed around to Brazil and now many people create their own around the world. There are some places where you can buy acai bowls, however I have never tried store or cafe bought ones (I will eventually). I don't use Acai berries and I have no clue if this means that what I make isn't a 'Acai bowl' but it still tastes nice. You can use a blender to mix your fruit and liquid together, however I think it's much quicker to use a fork to mash up the fruit you're using. Overall, this breakfast recipe is fun to make, colourful and tastes great.
Thank you for reading this post, writing this has made me hungry for some pancakes! Want more breakfast ideas? Why not check out my Instagram?
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I must admit, it is difficult to find motivation sometimes. Whether this is involving a sport or just motivating yourself to do a small task. Many people don't often refer to words when they feel unmotivated, but that is something I now do and had wished I'd known how much words can impact your thoughts. Some days I'll be feeling totally weak and discouraged to go for a run, but reading some quotes can help me to feel more positive about myself. In this post, i'll share and explain some quotes that motivate me to keep working out, not give up and feel better about myself.
'Do not claim you want to grow and then run away the minute you feel growing pains'
I found this quote by the company Bossbabe, I think its very true and relatable. Sometimes I will say to myself that I want to reach a certain goal or lift a certain amount. I will work hard to reach my goal, but will sometimes give up if I find a task too difficult to complete. This quote shows that it takes time to reach the goals you want to achieve and with lots of hard work you can achieve them, however that's not to say its going to be easy. I've found when I'm trying to gain a new personal best, I may get close to the weight I want, but not reach it. The following day, my muscles will be sore from trying which has sometimes put me off from training. But this quote made me realise that there will be difficulties when trying to reach goals, but hard work and experiences will provide you with amazing results.
'Your body can stand almost anything, it's your mind you have to convince'
I'm not sure who this quote is by, but it's definitely helped me when I've had challenging experiences with sports. Sometimes I'll be running and the air will be clammy which will cause me to feel too hot, this has often made me give up. However, this quote made me realise during my run that I just need to tell my mind that I can do it. This quote shows that often you're very capable of achieving what you want but you need to convince yourself that you're mentally capable. Some people may look at themselves and think that they aren't physically fit enough to reach their goals; sometimes you just need to be determined and have mental willpower.
'You don't always need a plan, sometimes you need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens'
Whoever quoted this, may be somebody who was discouraged from even the thought of having to go through with a plan of what they wanted to achieve. Sometimes I'll feel like this if I'm thinking about what I'm going to do too much. This quote made me realise that you don't always need to have a plan of your exact life or goals, but you do need to trust yourself, put yourself out there and see what happens. I remember the first time I decided to go for a run again once my anxiety was bearable to cope with. Thinking about a plan was far too difficult and I would become so frustrated with myself from thinking about things which could go wrong. I decided one day, to just go for it; since then I've managed to relax when getting anxious thinking about taking a new running route or desperately trying to stick to a plan.
'There will be haters, doubters and non-believers, and then there will be you, proving them wrong'
A while ago there were some people who tried to annoy me and pester me about being a Weightlifter. I admit it was annoying and it did have an impact on my mental health, but now I couldn't care less as I'm happy and proud of myself for many reasons This quote made me realise that there will be negative people in your life and sometimes negativity can bring you down. I view negativity in two ways, you can either let it define everything you've worked up to, or you can let it make you stronger and encourage you to prove others wrong. Thinking about proving people wrong may also motivate you to continue reaching for your goals and not to give up.
'Work hard in silence, let success be your noise'
This quote is by Frank Ocean and its definitely something I find motivating. If you're struggling to start something new (whether this is fitness related or not) purely because you don't want the attention from others. Why not keep quiet about it and smash your goals? You can focus on your actions speaking louder than your words. I think what this quote is also saying is that you don't always have to speak your success, but can simply prove others wrong with showing your achievements. You also gain the satisfaction of knowing you can physically reach your goals rather than just speaking inaccurate representations.
'Comparison is the thief of joy'
I feel comparing yourself to other people is something which a lot of people need to get out of the habit of doing. I'm currently in progress towards stopping comparing myself with others. Although this quote is short, there is a lot of meaning behind it. If you are constantly comparing yourself to others in a negative or positive way, you could find yourself unhappy. I've been in situations where i've felt people are better than me and the way i've viewed my progress and accomplishments has been negatively impacted. Comparison may not be a problem for everyone, but if it is a problem you'll notice that it is difficult to block out sometimes. This quote definitely helps me to feel encouraged not to view other peoples lives and instantly regret my own.
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you became as motivated as I did whilst writing this. Please note that I am not the responsible owner of any images and quotes in this post and that all links to original owners are linked on my pinterest account.
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For those of you who aren't Olympic Weightlifters or don't have much knowledge on the sport, you may wonder if some things are different in the sport depending on your gender. As for some sports, being female rather than male can have a impact on what you train for and how you compete. For example, in Gymnastics the males may be focused on still rings or pommel horse using upper body strength, rather than the females focusing on beam work and intense floor routines using balance. Continue reading to find out if Weightlifting varies for different genders.
Different Genders in Weightlifting competitions
When competing in competitions, men and women both complete the same number of lifts (6, 3 sets of each type) and the same type of lifts (Snatch, Clean and Jerk). The rules are the same for both genders and lifts may be passed or failed for the same reasons for each sex. The refereeing and coaching system is also gender neutral, meaning that females don't just have to referee or coach female lifters. However, there are a few differences between male and female Weightlifters.
The first difference you will notice before entering a competition is that qualifying poundages (the total amount of weight you must lift in order to compete) are higher for men than women. Qualifying poundages also go based on your body weight, so the more you weigh the more you may have to lift to ensure your place in the competition. Some people may view this as degrading towards women, however I can see that the system makes sense. The system isn't designed to tell women and men what they cannot lift, but to show what is expected for each competition. Although the qualifying weight for women is lower than the male total, women are not stopped from lifting more than the set example for their body weight. It is also arguable that genetically men are built to be stronger than women, therefore poundage expectations are set higher due to natural strength and ability to build muscle better with the help of hormones (Testosterone). The lowest qualifying poundage for men is 60 kilograms and 45 kilograms for women (Based on 2017 poundages in the British Under 15 category weighing at 44kg).
Before competing, lifters will be weighed in separated rooms for each gender. The person weighing in the lifters is usually the same gender as the lifters. This is because if lifters must undress themselves when weighing in, it wouldn't be appropriate for a member of the opposite sex to be in the room. When each gender is lifting, they will not lift together at the same time. Often the female group will go first, but either gender can. The results from the competition are not combined with both genders, so women will never be competing against men in a Official British Weightlifting competition. This may be different for team based competitions. Also, the weight categories set on the British Weightlifting site are often higher for men as they are expected to weigh more than the women. However, this doesn't mean that men and women can't exceed this limit.
Different Genders when Training
When each gender is training, they may not lift differently technique wise but other aspects can have an impact on their lifting. From observing training sessions and competitors, I have noticed that women can find it easier to focus on technique more than some men. Now I understand that this isn't the same for every lifter but that I what I have noticed. Also due to the fact that men have more testosterone in their bodies than women, men can be more aggressive when attempting personal best lifts (not to say women aren't aggressive too, sometimes I've found myself yelling a lot whilst lifting). But when watching other people train and compete, it is noticeable that men can use their emotions and aggression to lift the bar, more than women. The female gender may be equally as strong as the male, with a higher percentage of muscle mass and lower Body fat ratio; men may be stronger.
Thanks for reading this post! Please note that this post is in no way trying to slate British Weightlifting or specific genders, information may not be factual but based upon opinions and observations.
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In this post I thought I'd discuss some of my favourite songs to listen to whilst I'm working out and how to create a motivating playlist. Personally I love listening to music whilst exercising as it motivates and encourages me to keep on going. I also love adding new songs to my playlist and enjoying other song recommendations. Sorry if this post is quite short, I've previously written this a few months back to save me from stressing out and not posting on the days that I have to revise or am away for my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze expedition. But please do continue reading!
My top 10 favourite songs to workout to
Most of the songs above are very upbeat, however some of them are rock style music. Upbeat music can really help keep you feeling positive whilst working out, especially if the songs are good to dance to and blast as loud as you can! I try to avoid songs which are slow or deep as they can bring a negative atmosphere to my workout and I don't need that when I'm trying my hardest to not give up. A while back, I had some chilled songs in my workout playlist but that just caused me to become distracted and start looking at social media instead of being energetic. Feel free to add any of the songs above into your own fitness playlists!
Creating a workout playlist
If you aren't sure how to create a motivating playlist which you can workout to, follow my tips below.
Thank you for reading, I'll be writing another blog post next week so apologies for the short post. Sorry I haven't written in ages, i've been revising a lot and i've been busy with PE and Health exams/coursework.
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Body confidence is something which I've always wanted to address more in this blog; I feel like its an issue which can reflect how people feel and their daily routine. I honestly wish that body confidence was something that was viewed as being okay; it seems as if anyone who may hate something about themselves is automatically categorized and may be seen as weaker than others who don't show their negative feelings and thoughts. I view body confidence as being comfortable and happy with yourself; not necessarily the showing off of skin, changing your body, being outgoing or bragging. The rest of this post will involve sensitive and mature content, my personal experiences with body confidence and how you can improve the way you view yourself.
My personal experience
Right now, I'm only 15 years of age but I know that teenage years and childhood are one of the toughest battles for many with body confidence issues. Since I was 9 years old, I've struggled with having confidence in my body and sometimes days have been unbearable because of it; other times I've gone months without a single negative thought. I vaguely remember when I was younger looking into the mirror and stepping on the scales to see if I'd gained or lost weight; I was merely a child of 30 kilograms. I was small, slight and shouldn't of had to worry about my weight at this age. I don't specifically remember what influenced me to feel uncomfortable with my weight, but I do remember that at the time I was a huge fan of models and music artists who all had a specific 'skinny' look about them. But I felt that in order for me to be cool like them that I needed to eat less like they did. I think at this time, I was majorly influenced by other people's actions so would've easily been influenced by celebrity role models and t.v advertisements to try and lose the extra weight I didn't have. Having a negative opinion about your body can make you feel sad, quiet and like your carrying a huge extra weight on your shoulders; I'd often break down in tears and sit in the dark for hours. This body confidence issue eventually stopped after I had a discussion with my Mum about how I was feeling. She told me that there was no need for me to be trying to lose weight as I was perfect the way I was. At this age, her words mean't so much to me that I felt positive and that I was going to live up to being my perfect self by not changing who I was.
Between the ages of 9 and 15, I've definitely had many different views on how I look. A lot of the days I'd hate my nose, hair and my skin, looking back as a stronger person, there was nothing imperfect about those features. I guess I was just adapting to my body and minds changes, causing me to feel insecure about features I'd never really paid attention to before. How I now feel about my body has changed tremendously after two major issues with my body confidence at 9 and 13 years old. But to this day although I feel positive about myself and proud of my bodies accomplishments, some days I'll look at myself and think 'I don't look strong enough, my skin looks awful or I hate my boobs'. But soon after thinking these things, I'll look myself dead in the eyes, smile and say "you are enough, embrace your insecurities, what can possibly go wrong".
Body confidence issues
If you aren't sure what having body confidence issues are then I'll explain for you. Body confidence is being happy with the body you have, having a positive attitude towards the way you look, and giving yourself motivating and encouraging messages involving your features. Not having these factors can mean having issues with body confidence, causing sadness, provoking mental health issues and feeling negative about yourself. Having problems with the way you view yourself can be triggered by stressful situations and emotional changes (parents divorce, bullying, abuse etc.) but it can also be triggered by social standards which are cast upon society today by the media, celebrities, opinions of others and advertisements. Unfortunately, the ideal image of Women and Men surrounds us daily on our phones, t.v's and anywhere we look; there's bound to be images of 'perfect' people with their 'perfect' bodies. In fact, this just makes having confidence a lot harder! There is nothing wrong about having problems with the way you view yourself or if there is nothing you like about yourself, the only reason you dislike something about yourself in the first place is because of the negative image you've set for yourself based off the deceiving images and unrealistic standards of others.
Improve the way you view yourself
In this final paragraph, I could tell you that naturally as you grow that things will get better and you'll exit this phase. But I'm not going to say that as for many, having a negative image about yourself can last for a long time. Even when you think you're completely confident and loving yourself truly, there will still be some small slip-ups in your mind which could cause you to feel negative for a split second. Learning to deal with negative thoughts is the best way to learn to love yourself. If you can find a way to distract and turn away critical thoughts, you can tackle many more obstacles in your way. Some things which have helped me to think positively about myself are:
Thank you for reading this post, I hope that whether you're dealing with body confidence issues or not that this post can you help you or somebody you know. For further information regarding help with any of the subjects above, feel free to drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Some of the people who read my blog may already be familiar with the sport of Weightlifting, if not check out my other posts to learn more. For those who compete and lift, you will understand that there are negatives and things that you do hate about weightlifting. This goes for other sports too, there are bound to be negatives and positives. In this post, I am going to discuss the things that I dislike about Olympic Weightlifting.
Lifting during the winter
One of the main things I dislike about Weightlifting is when i'm training during the winter. I love the winter and all, especially when it snows but not when I'm too cold to train. The bad thing about Weightlifting is that the bars you lift with are made of metal which causes them to be freezing cold during this time of the year. Also, loading the bar is difficult as disks and anything else metal is cold. Lifting a cold bar often puts me off a lot of the time as it can hurt my hands; causing me to be distracted and fail any attempts. Its simple to say that you should wear gloves, but then you've got the problem of your hands becoming sweaty and you gloves slipping against the barbell. Layering up when training is also important in the winter, except I don't like lifting with a lot of clothes on. This is because I feel that a lot of layers can affect my performance and flexibility which can negatively impact my pb attempts. When lifting you can also get very hot so wearing layers isn't always best.
Loading the bar
If I'm training on my own, I'll often have to load the bar myself. That's part of the sport really, plus it can help you develop quick thinking when adding up plate numbers. However, that's not to say I like the job of loading. Yes its often tedious, but yes it needs to be done. If you're working on increasing your personal best, you'll be loading weights on to the bar quickly to build up your poundages. But when loading yourself and lifting in between, you can start to fatigue which can have a negative impact on your performance. I've noticed if other people have loaded the bar between lifts for me, I've had more energy to lift the weight rather than using my energy to load the bar itself. Don't get me wrong when I say loading is boring, I appreciate loaders at competitions as I understand that it has to be done. If I'm loading and lifting at the same time, sometimes I can begin to forget which weights I'm suppose to be putting on the bar.
If you're like me and you lift, you'll understand the importance of chalk when training. Except chalk is rather messy and I hate it. Chalk is great to prevent you hands from slipping on the bar during lifts and is great to increase your grip with heavier poundages. However, when wearing black clothes to lift in, chalk suddenly becomes your worst enemy and doesn't want to get off your clothes. I've often bought a brand new pair of black leggings, worn them to lift in and afterwards they're practically white! Chalk can get all over the platform, bar and weights too. If chalk gets onto the weights and barbells, it agitates me a lot as often its very difficult to get off and makes equipment look dirty.
Being put off
I hope this one isn't just me, I dislike this a lot though. I'll be lifting in a silent room, all prepared to achieve my new personal best, concentrated and just about to pick up the bar. When suddenly someone I know will walk in and start having a conversation with me! I'll have to drop the bar as i'll lose my focus and wont be able to successfully lift. In competitions most of the time the room is silent unless your team/ coach is giving you encouragement. Some lifters like a lot of noise and aggressive speech, but I don't as everyone's different. I mentally encourage myself and can find it more difficult if someone is shouting something down my ear whilst I'm trying to not drop the bar on myself or the audience. Unless you're a lifter, you won't understand the amount of focus it takes to block out everything around you and still remember what you're doing.
Not achieving a PB
I think this can apply to other sports, not just weightlifting. But when I decide that I want to try to gain a new personal best, I manage to psych myself up and feel confident that I can lift the weight. Depending on the few lifts beforehand, I may feel positive that I'm going to get the lift or completely discouraged. But when it comes down to me and the bar, its up to you to take on the challenge and beat yourself. After not succeeding at beating my PB, I sometimes become so mentally frustrated as I had the confidence I was going to leave the platform feeling happy. This causes me to try and try again until I'm so physically fatigued that I can no longer even pick the bar up. Sometimes I can feel satisfied with the weight I've managed to lift but sometimes I feel sad and negative; as if its the worst thing in the entire world. Fairly recently I got really annoyed after not being able to achieve a new PB, this funnily resulted in me yelping, throwing a tantrum and kicking my bag across the platform. The screenshots from the video really capture the stages of what happened haha. Afterwards, my family and I all laughed at the sight of my frustration. Atleast I didn't throw the bar!
Thanks for reading this post, I hope you can understand some of the problems us Weightlifters face and that you can relate. Please check out my other posts about Olympic Weightlifting here: