#MyBlogLife: STELLAR Meets Fitness Blogger Sinead Mallon AKA Miss Gym Bunny
Fallen off the wagon? Fit gal Sinead Mallon tells us what steps we need to get back on track.
Facebook: Miss Gym Bunny – Blog
Why do people fall off the wagon?
People set themselves unrealistic targets to improve their exercise and diet. In a mad moment of motivation, they decide to completely overhaul their lifestyle, nutrition and exercise regime without realising that motivation varies on a daily basis. They’re unable to keep up with these unrealistic goals and after one or two small slip ups, their head drops, they feel deflated and this is usually when they fall off the wagon completely.
What steps need to be taken to get back on?
Instead of setting unrealistic targets that are difficult to reach, set yourself three simple goals every fortnight. Always take these goals back a step to ensure compliance and success to build on. For example, if you think you’re going to go to the gym every day, set yourself a target to go three days per week instead. Make your targets easy so it’s impossible to fail and then you can create new consistent habits.
How can we improve our mindset?
In my opinion, mindset is the most important aspect of health and fitness and the aspect that is most often overlooked by fitness professionals. We talk science in relation to nutrition and training but mindset varies hugely from person to person. For me, keeping a journal helps and it’s a strategy I recommend to all of my clients. On a daily basis, I write down three things I have done well every day and one thing I could have done better. It helps me work towards my goals. I also encourage keeping company with positive like-minded people. Social media gets a bad rep but it’s a great resource for those who do not have a large supportive network, the #irishfitfam on Instagram is a godsend!
What does a day on your plate look like?
This is usually a combination of protein and good fats to regulate blood sugars, reduce cravings and fill me up so I’m not reaching for the biscuit tin at 10am. My favourite breakfast choices are egg muffins, chicken omelettes and almond pancakes with bacon. My quick breakfast tip is to add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your green tea or coffee as an alternative to your flavoured latte. It tastes great and boosts your intake of healthy fats.
I work in an office so I’m presented with the usual temptations of buns, scones and biscuits. I’ll have a snack prepared to avoid unhealthy choices. I’m a big fan of herbal teas to get that sweet fix. For a snack, I might have some raw nuts, carrot sticks with nut butter or Fage Total Greek yogurt with mixed seeds and cinnamon.
Lunch is usually something I have cooked in bulk, stored in Tupperware and I’ll eat with salad or greens. In summer, it’s mostly salads while in winter, hearty soups and stews are more appealing. I’ll also have herbal tea and a handful of blueberries with my lunch.
This is the time of day that most experience a slump and head to the shop to buy their coffee, coke or chocolate bar. This is the last time I eat before training so I want to eat something more substantial than just a small snack at this time to fuel my workout. I will have a bowl of soup with some added seeds or a sliced chicken breast with some raw veggies.
My go-to option if I’m stuck for time in the kitchen is my chicken curry recipe from my six-week online programme, free from shop-bought sauces which are usually filled with sugar. My side of choice with curry on rest day is cauliflower rice and on training day, I’ll serve it with basmati rice to replace that energy lost during my workout. I always aim to include greens with all of my meals.
I supplement each day, mainly with the vitamins and minerals most commonly deficient in UK and Ireland. These include omega 3 fish oils, vitamin D and a zinc/magnesium combination.
What are your favourite healthy treats?
Definitely my homemade bounty bars which I make using desiccated coconut, coconut milk, a little maple syrup and 85% dark chocolate – the darker the chocolate, the better the health benefits. I’m also a big coconut addict!
My favourite shop-bought treats are fresh berries, 85% dark chocolate and Nobo ice-cream.
What do you think of calorie counting?
My ethos is to work towards a relaxed and balanced lifestyle without overcomplicating exercise or nutrition. I always relate nutrition back to our early ancestors and follow their lead by eating natural foods that were once alive or the product of a living organism. The thing most people don’t realise about calorie counting is that food quality is every bit as important as food quantity, for example, a half avocado with 200 calories has so many more health benefits than a calorie-free can of diet coke.
What about using the scales?
The scales aren’t an accurate means of recording fat loss. If you’re completing resistance/weights training, you’ll lose fat but also gain muscle (which gives you that toned and shapely look) but it means that the scales won’t drop drastically. This can dishearten a lot of people when they think their efforts are not reflected on the scales and that’s when people lose heart and give up. Get your body fat tested if possible or a use tape measure for a more accurate reflection.
I usually train four to five days each week for 45-60 minutes at a time. My life is busy but I always set aside time to workout as I’m fully aware of the benefits to my physical and mental health. Working out helps me unwind, de-stress and forget my daily worries and woes. If I’m meeting up with friends or have a social event planned, I get up an hour earlier in the morning and get my workout done. My training is a mixture of weighted and body-weight exercises, conditioning and interval training. I’ve found a combination that works well for me and has made me feel lean, strong and healthy.
Are you 100% body confident? Is there such thing?
The media have hijacked the health and fitness industry and bombarded us with pictures of the ‘perfect’ male and female bodies. It’s good that health and fitness promotion is on trend, but it’s simply another medium to put pressure on us to look a certain way. That’s why I take the approach of healthy mind first, and a healthy body second. I’ve worked with clients in the past who are on a quest for that ‘perfect body’ and as a result they’ll never find true satisfaction with their results. Their mindset is flawed from the get-go.
I don’t think anyone can ever say that they are 100% body confident. There’s always something we don’t like. For me, it has been learning to accept my body and changing the aspects I can. While accepting the parts I can’t change.
What has been the reason for your success?
I still find it funny that people look to me as a role model for success. I’m an ordinary 20-something on the pursuit of balance between health, fitness, adventure and fun. I enjoy shopping just as much as working out, drinking gin and tonics just as much as green juices and I also have a full-time job outside of the health and fitness industry. I’ve managed to find a good balance between all areas. I think people can relate to me because they find themselves in a similar position and that’s why my blog has been successful.
Any advice to people who are struggling to get back on track?
In terms of nutrition, stick to healthy whole foods that your ancient ancestors would have ate. Exercise wise, resistance training is best for improving your body shape along with staying active on a daily basis. My main advice is to take things in small but progressive steps that are sustainable for you long-term. It’s possible to still have a social life while making time to look after your mind and body, you just have to find a balance.
Wanna be a part of #MyBlogLife? It runs online weekly and in the magazine monthly, too. To be considered, you need to have a personal blog. Join STELLAR’s Facebook group, open to all personal bloggers, or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, telling us why we should feature you.