Be in control of what you can control


Ciarán McMullan

DO WE react or respond to certain situations, people or circumstances? Reacting releases negative chemicals in the brain and we don’t not think as logically as we can normally. When we respond we are in control of our decisions that are based on fact not emotion, we choose to stay in control.

This can be transferred to our diet and fitness as so many times sessions are made by reacting very quickly and choosing the wrong foods we consume due to the newest fad or the wrong training programme that does not fit in with our goals.

If we take a step back and think about diet and fitness before we make decisions, we can take control and get the best possible outcome for our own needs. This, in turn, leads to more confidence that the programme we have chosen and the food we eat will bring about the best results.

One thing to remember is emotional energy is just as valuable as our physical energy! By being positive and responding we can achieve better outcomes for any daily task.

So what can we control when we talk about exercise? Personally we all have a choice in what exercise, sessions or activities we partake in. Find something that you enjoy yet will challenge you to the point where you can make and see changes regularly. If this isn’t working, go back, see what the problem is and fix it. Take full control over what you do.

We can also control our rep ranges, weights used and rest periods. Again a simple, but effective, way to stay in control over exercise sessions. My advice is to start with a weight and rep range that you find comfortable, so much so that your technique is very good before thinking about moving up weights. The progressive overload that is needed will come with time, technique and repetition.

Control over goal setting is also a huge factor in getting results in the gym. Make sure you set specific, but realistic, goals within a certain time frame. This will help when needing to adjust goals if targets aren’t hit by a certain date—something that isn’t the end of the world.

One of the biggest and most difficult things in our health and fitness journey is usually nutrition. To get your nutrition on point is one thing, but to understand the nutritional needs for you body is so important. Being educated about nutrition will most certainly help you achieve your goals in a shorter space of time.

Understanding what the body needs for exercise, recovery, energy levels and so on is, in my opinion, a game changer, to anyone who wants to progress.

So here’s what we can control:
—How we train
—Weights/rep ranges/intensity levels/rest periods
—Our mindset for change

Lastly, no matter what, never be down on yourself for not hitting goals, never compare yourself to others and only take advice from those in a position to do so.

Ciarán McMullan is a former St Enda’s Gaelic footballer and League Cup winning midfielder with Cliftonville FC. He currently works as a personal trainer in Belfast. Visit his Facebook page: Follow him on Instagram: cmcfitness