Fitness & Health: What next? Setting new goals

Where to go when you reach your fitness goals

Now, I’m not a fitness or nutritional professional (pending, you see), however I would describe myself as knowledgeable about the former and educated on the latter.

Without delving too much into my fitness past (you can read about it all HERE), I will tell revisiting and new readers that I begin what turned out to be a life altering fitness journey if February of this year. I recently finished up 14 weeks training with the most wonderful trainer you will ever find, and I am happy with the results.

I have lost 7.5% body fat, bringing me down to 23.5%, 12 inches and gained a lot of strength and confidence. I was thrilled with my before and after pictures; noting that my legs and bum look a lot more toned than they ever have been, that my waist is noticable smaller and that my back looks strong.

Before and after fitness pictures

*source

 I wouldn’t say I smashed my goals but I certainly achieved them through various nutrition and fitness regimens and I was left thinking “what next?”

Here are some things I have thought of in relation to creating your post-achievement fitness goals, that you might find useful.

Be realistic

Losing body fat gets tougher and requires more meticulous nutrition and more intense workouts the further you go on.

When I started off I had 31% body, to drop down as far as 23.5% is a significant personal achievement and one that took a lot of work and time. I realise that to get to my desired 20% body fat I am going to have to be particularly strict with food and drink and up my weights game, even though this time I am only looking to lose 3.5%.

Don’t put unrealistic pressure on yourself by saying you are going to lose the same amount of pounds, or the same amount of inches of your waist as you did in your recently completed programme; it’s not likely to happen and you want to avoid being unfair to your body.

Set yourself a challenge. 

Set yourself a fitness challenge, whether it is completing a fun run, running a marathon or squatting 80kg.

Focus yourself on achieving these goals and your body will respond accordingly. Not only will it be good for your physical strength but also your mental strength, and as well as that, the sense of achievement when you do it will be incomparable.

Look beyond your physical stats.

As much as you might want to lose inches and body fat, when you are reassessing your goals it might be time to look beyond those figures.

Look at the things you want to achieve in fitness instead; maybe you struggle to run for longer than 20 minutes, or you can’t lift heavier than an 8kg dumbbell or you might even struggle to hold a plank for more than 30 seconds; discover ways of getting better at these things, ask a trainer or look for advice online. Once you go beyond how your body looks and focus on what you want it to do, the inches and percentages will take care of themselves.

Consider what you could have done better

While we may have achieved our goals, there is usually something that we could have done better. Maybe you could have reached your goal quicker, maybe you could have improved in certain areas a little more. Whatever it is that you feel could have done differently, make the effort to incorporate the improvement into your new programme. Make doing one or two things better part of your next line of goals.

For example, I probably could have improved on the food aspect and hence would have seen even more inches disappearing. Yes, I eat nutritious foods and I am quite strict on myself but sometimes the lure of cream crackers or a cocktail gets too much for me! One of the goals on my list is not to give in to cravings, not matter how infrequent, and to give up alcohol three months; it will be interesting to see the physical results.

These four tips are just my opinion but you might find that they are helpful when considering the goals you set for your next fitness campaign.

Have you got anything to add? Head to the comments, I love chatting to you all! 

Tips: Oxegen 2011

Last week the Oxegen stage by stage line up was revealed, much to the excitement of those heading to the festival. While Oxegen would not be my festival of choice, there are some bands playing that I would highly recommend going along to. Here is my day-by-day, hour-by-hour list of recommendations for this years Oxegen music festival:

Friday

First day of the festival and there are some treats to be had, however there are a few gaps and bands like All Time Low, Tineh Tempah and the majority of the acts in the Electric Ballroom take away from the credibility of this “rock” festival.

14.00 Fun Lovin’ Criminals. 

What better way to start off your music filled weekend than with the must see band fronted by the effortlessly cool Huey Morgan on the mainstage. Provided the weather is blissful on that Friday afternoon they will be the perfect band for easing yourself into it with their brand bluesy, old school hip-hop rock. Keep an ear out for classics such as The Fun Lovin’ Criminal and Scooby Snacks. 

14.45 Readers Wives

Once you’ve gotten your fill of uber-coolness dash along to the 2fm Hotpress Academy stage (personally I don’t think that stage has enough sponsors) to see Irish band Readers Wives. After all, what is a music festival without experiencing some new music? They are a wonderful indie band with a hint of Morrissey about them, so if you are a fan of The Smiths you had better get your oversized lense-less glasses over to see this band. They are not as dreary and self-absorbed as the much favoured Mancunian band, they have the swagger of the Arctic Monkeys and many of their songs have the potential to become Indie hits!

16.45/16.50 Keywest/House of Pain

Depending on your tastes I have two recommendations here. If you are a fan of pop-rock, you may want to take a breather for a few minutes before returning to the heavily sponsored stage to see Keywest, a band from North Dublin that has been making incredible progress over the last two years. You’ll be treated to some catchy numbers that are easy to dance along to. However if you are like me and have an unyielding love for old school hip-hop, you will find it hard to resist the lure of House Of Pain on the Vodaphone Stage. House of Pain are purely legendary and personally, if I was at Oxegen this weekend, despite my loyalty to KeyWest, nothing would keep me away from that stage come ten to five. There is a bit of a gap between the previous recommendation and these ones, but there genuinely is nothing worth seeing in between so get some food into you or visit the fun fair for a while to psych yourself up for the remainder of the weekend!

17.55 Weezer 

Weezer will never disappear. They have been a mainstay since the early 1990s and they are well worth a look on the Mainstage. They are a nerdy pop-punk band that would put fellow mainstagers All Time Low to shame. I not only recommend that the revellers watch their show, but also the preceding band, as they need to take note on who to do pop-punk right. Weezer are easy to listen to and they have made some classic sing-a-long tunes that you would be made to miss out on. They put on a great show and the years of performing live will shine through among the newbies performing that weekend.

21.30 The Strokes

Hang on a second!!! Swedish House Mafia are headlining above The Strokes?! Another reason that I personally think that Oxegen has become a bit of a commercial-fest. The Strokes are the penultimate act on the Vodaphone Stage and if you don’t go and see them, you will have wasted your weekend. If you were never a fan of The Strokes, you will be after seeing them live, and girls, Julian Casablancas… well do I need to say more? They have the ability to instill adrenaline into a crowd like few bands I have seen live can and with so many great songs you are not likely to get bored during their set. Keep an ear out for my favourite Strokes’ song below, perfect for a sunset over Leopardstown.

Headliners Glasvegas

Frankly, the headliners on the first day of Oxegen leave a lot to be desired for a genuine music lover. Black Eyed Peas are, in a word, irritating and have one passable song, Swedish House Mafia have discredit themselves of cult status by including generic vocals over their latest tracks and Leftfield are ooook but the real entertainment comes once again from my favourite stage (purely because of the name), The 2fm Hotpress Academy Stage because Glasvegas are headlining! They are a fantastic band and while I have never seen them live I have heard good things, and I would rather sit through clever Indie Rock than Black Eyed Peas and they inevitable clientele.

Saturday

Saturday is an improvement on Friday, with worthy headliners and minor acts that will help you sail through the day. Possible the best out of the three days.

14.00 Alice Gold

Saturday gets off to a terrible start with Big Country, Little Green Cars and DJs Church and Gordo opening various stages. I would recommend going along to Alice Gold on the Vodaphone stage for some lazy, easy-listening music that could be compared to Ellie Goulding and Laura Marling.

14.55 The Minutes

There are no mainstage performances after Big Country until five O’Clock so stayput at the Vodaphone Stage for The Minutes. They are one of the most successful Irish bands of the last year and half and you are guaranteed to be entertained by them and their brand of Indie-rock. They have received acclaim from the most reputable outlets in the country including Hotpress and Phantom FM.

15.55 Cashier No.9 

One of my favourite bands at the moment, Cashier No. 9 are definitely a must see band and they are playing The Heineken Green Sphere Stage. They have their own style of indie rock which sounds as though it was stolen right out of the 1960s. Even if you have never seen them before, you will find it hard not to dance along to their cheerful melodies.

17.00 Two Door Cinema Club

Cashier No.9 should end at about 4 O’ clock, there is nothing I would wholeheartedly recommend for this time, so have some munch, get a few beers into you and then head along to the Mainstage to see Two Door Cinema Club, a band you really do not want to miss. Two Door Cinema Club are Ireland’s Vampire Weekend (in that they are slightly dorky, make catchy tunes and are always well dressed) and they have come on leaps and bounds over the last two years. If you are a fan of the band and never saw them live be prepared to be blown away, they put on a great show and are always full of energy. People who have not heard of them will become fans after seeing them perform on the mainstage, and that is a guarantee. I deplore anyone to watch their set without being completely impressed, so much so that you go home and download their album (off itunes of course).

18.20 Kitty Daisy and Lewis 

Plan B follows Two Door Cinema Club on the Mainstage so I suggest you make a quick dash to the 2fm etc stage to see the delightful Kitty Daisy and Lewis. Their back story is reason enough to see them play live. Three siblings, they began performing as pre-teens and they are immensely talented and clearly enjoy performing on stage. They have found fans in the likes of Josh Homme who speaks highly of them and anything that comes out of that man’s mouth is gospel as fair as this music lover is concerned. They are likely to be one of the highlights of the weekend with their 1940s style blues.

19.20 Eliza Doolittle

For more cheerful summery tunes stay at the long-titled stage for Eliza Doolittle, who is just precious! Her debut album has gone down a storm with a selection of upbeat and catchy tunes to choose from. Provided it’s a sunny day she will be the perfect sound track to lazing on the grass letting the sun kiss your face.

20.05-23.25 Mainstage all the way

After you have your insides warmed by Kitty Daisy and Lewis and Eliza Doolittle, head to the mainstage and be prepared to stay there for the remainder of the night. Beady Eye kicks off your Mainstage Marathon, ok so Liam Gallager is a bit of a fool, but they are worth a look believe it or not. Surprisingly their album was quite good and you are guaranteed to get a few Oasis classics while your at it.

Then you will be stunned by Arctic Monkeys who I must admit, I am not a fan of but when I saw them live in Malahide Castle a few years I was utterly blown away. They are majestic performers and if I was there you could bet I would be rocking out to some of their better songs, especially Fluorescent Adolescent which is arguably their best song to date both lyrically and musically.

And then the Highlight of the weekend comes in the form of Foo Fighters, one of the best (and first)live bands I have had the pleasure to see. I was only a kid when I saw this band so it may have been my naivety or my still existent obsession with one Mr Grohl, but as far as I remember they are powerful, emotional and the purest rock act you will see all weekend. Dave Grohl’s true home in my opinion is behind a drum kit but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he is one of the greatest modern frontmen in rock music. Be prepared for a rendition of everlong that will send shivers down your spine and roaring version of one of their most powerful songs, The pretender. You would be a fool to pass up the opportunity to see them in favour of any of the comparatively mediocre acts headlining the other stages.

Sunday

14.00 I wouldn’t recommend anything in particular for this time slot. Sunday gets off to a slow start with possibly two bands worth going along to see (Fox.E and the Good hands or Neon Trees). Just do yourself a favour and don’t see Rubber bandits. That one song may have been funny, but you probably won’t be drunk enough to enjoy it at two O’ clock on the final day.

15.05 Ryan Sheridan

He supported Barack Obama and is the only person at Oxegen who can say that. Ryan Sherdian has exploded onto the Irish music scene over the last few months and he really is as good as the hype makes him out to be. I recommend taking a stroll over to the mainstage to see what all the fuss is about.

16.55 Ocean Colour Scene

One of my favourite bands, they have been impressing audiences since the 1990s and have managed to maintain their coolness throughout the years. The true indie Alternative to the blur/oasis debate, they have written some of the best rock songs to date, and thankfully have slipped under the radar a bit so they have not been tainted by the muppetry (it’s a word) of popularisation! They are amazing performers and I wouldn’t recommend that you let the weekend slip by without watching these lads perform.

19.20 Crystal Castles

You might as well take a break before heading back to the Heineken stage to see Crystal Castles; an electro sensation that, word has it, put on a great show.

20.40 The National

The majority of people will be heading to Beyonce at this point, and I am sure she will be amazing, but my recommendation falls with The National a great Indie Rock band, that in my opinion, shouldn’t be missed. Their sound epitomises the the decade so far in terms of music and they will just keep getting bigger so I suggest you ditch Bee and head to the Vodaphone stage instead.

Headliners Coldplay

It was a toss up between Primal Scream and Coldplay, and Coldplay one. I have seen them live and the put on a spectacular performance with laser shows and surprisingly good showmanship for pretentious Chris Martin. Their songs were made for gigs like this and it is an astonishing experience seeing them live. Even if you are not a fan, they sound better live than on recording, and they are with out a doubt one of the best live bands of the last ten years. Just look at the video to see the proof.