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12 things I learned in 2014

January 22, 2015

2014 has been a big year for me, I think more in a “personal development” kind of way than anything else. I was thinking about last year and some of the things I learned/discovered, and seeing as it’s almost the end of the year I thought I would make a post of it.  Some of these are discoveries I made myself; or personal life lessons, and others are things I learned/experiences I’ve had with others. Some of these are health/fitness/practical related. Others are just general “life” lessons.

1) Staying calm and focused often works better for me than “getting pumped up”

This applies whether it’s before attempting a heavy lift, competing, or going into a challenging workout. There’s no point wasting your energy being nervous about your workouts before you even start training. Learn how to channel your nerves. Discover ways you can de-stress and remain focused (everyone has different ways of doing this but it’s important to find what works for you) so you don’t let your nerves and excitement come between you and your training/competing. This is something I am certainly still learning, but I’ll tell you, it’s a HUGE aspect of successful training and competing.  The mental aspect is just as important as the physical.

2) Getting enough good quality sleep is almost more important than any other “recovery” strategy

I try all sorts of recovery strategies, whether we are talking about mobility, yoga, foam rolling, supplements, food and nutrient intake, fish oil, quality sleep, massage etc, and I can confidently say that sleep is the one that trumps all the others for me. When you have a busy lifestyle, work 2 jobs + run a personal business, have a kid, AND you are trying to train like an athlete at the same time, you need all the recovery shortcuts you can get. Now I realise there are no real “shortcuts” in life, but like I wrote in this post: Health and performances hacks for athletes, there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself/ speed up your recovery. You can take a read of my list there. However, I stand by my #1 recovery strategy, and that is getting enough, good quality sleep. Nothing beats it.

3) Blasting your veggies in a nutribullet is a really easy way to up your veggie intake if you struggle to eat enough vegetables

I make veggie shots in the nutribullet and this is such an easy way to get extra veggies in your diet. I find as long as I put ginger and lemon or lime in each shot, it makes everything taste good. I try to rotate through eating a variety of veggies, all the colours of the rainbow, to get as much nutrients in as possible.

Nutribullet veggie shots 

4) You can’t have everything; focus on doing a few things really well

Everything in life is a trade-off. You give up one thing to get another and you can’t have it all. We have to accept that, and be okay with our personal decisions. Let’s be real, no one is truly “balanced” in every single aspect of their life, as they will always prioritise something over the other. You aren’t going to be good at everything but you can be really really good at the things you do!  Be okay with your choices and decisions. It’s your life; you can choose to live it however you like.

5) Preventive maintenance is always better than emergency repair

This is a hard lesson to learn and it applies to everything in life, whether it’s exercise, health, diet… servicing your car etc. A stitch in time saves nine. Do the pre-hab work with exercise, get your car serviced on time, do the upkeep consistently to prevent the big problems or injuries. I think I am still learning this one.

6) It’s important to continue to educate yourself

If you’re one of the few in your industry who continues to educate yourself, evolve your thinking and research things yourself, you will be light-years ahead of everyone else. I respect people who continue to educate themselves and who make a priority of learning and developing themselves in whatever industry they are in. It also makes you more confident in your abilities (and this will reflect in your work) when you continue to learn and educate yourself.

“The greatest investment a young person can make is in their own education, in their own mind. Because money comes and goes. Relationships come and go. But what you learn once stays with you forever.” -Warren Buffett

7) Everything comes from your core

This is so underestimated in athletes and trainers. I am constantly amazed at how much easier training and just moving my body in general becomes after an increased focus on core stabilisation. A strong core is essential for balance and stability, yes, but the real secret of a strong core is power production. A powerful core streamlines your movement. If you are just starting out with training, it’s so important to make sure you have a sound base by working on your core stability. If you are looking to improve power, remember that everything comes from your core. Don’t neglect focusing on it.

8) People who judge harshly are oftentimes the most insecure themselves

These people can make life difficult. They are always watching and waiting for an opportunity to pounce, to criticize and judge; nothing ever seems to be “good enough” for them. What have I learned about these people? I’ve learned that oftentimes the way they treat you/talk about you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Unless you are being a complete idiot or clearly at fault, their petty judgment of you is probably more about them than you. I have also learned not to take it personally or let them get to me. Killing with kindness is approximately 99% more effective than being a bitch (my boyfriend taught me that one :).

9) The sum of the little things matter so much more than the big things

This is a new perspective I have taken on in the last year. I’ve learned that when you look at something from an outside view (i.e. a song, a movie, a painting, a new program etc.) we tend to only see the end result and not the arduous process (and subsequently all of the failures) that went into producing the result. We often fail to realise that the “one big thing” is actually comprised of hundreds of daily small things that must be silently and unceremoniously maintained over long periods of time with little fanfare. This applies to training as well. It’s easy to forget that personal change and progress does not occur as a single event in time, but rather as a long, gradual process where we’re sometimes hardly aware of any change on a day-to-day basis. But this is why consistency is so important when it comes to results and improving. And repetition!

10) Absolutisms should be avoided

I hear and see a lot of absolutisms in the fitness industry. People making really big, absolute claims about fitness and diet related issues. I used to be a lot more hardline about things myself but I have realized I don’t want to miss out on experiences or learning new things, based on rigid paradigms that I impose upon myself. Things are also constantly changing. Even science keeps changing as they discover new things. Of course I still have my personal opinions and views, but I am increasingly less “absolutely opposed” to anything. I think this comes with experience, and realising you were wrong about a lot of ideas you held dear in the past.

11) You will always feel better after a yoga class (yes I realise this an absolutism, haha)

Trust me on this one though. :)


12) Find a way to relax and de-stress/re-focus:

This is so important especially for those of us who have a busy life AND train hard on top of it. Do what it takes to keep yourself de-stressed and relaxed. Everyone has different ways they like to de-stress or things to turn to when they are stressed. There are a couple of specific things that have worked for me: yoga, cooking, getting a massage, reading, playing/reading with my daughter, having a bath, burning scented candles. But each of us needs to find what works best for ourselves. Don’t give up on it. Maintain that inner peace. It’s so so important when you have a busy lifestyle.

And that sums it up! Hope you all have a fabulous Christmas! Thank you for being a part of my life, for reading my blog, for all your feedback and continued support! You are my inspiration! Happy New Year! See you in 2015!



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