Monday, 23 June 2014

Changing your approach

One of the beautiful things in life is how diverse humanity is, no two people are the same whether in looks, behaviour or attitudes.

However, it can also be one of the most irritating things.

Nobody is perfect and there are good and bad points to each approach people choose to take.

Over the years I’ve learnt more about different management and learning styles and I’ve worked to become more adaptive to others.

One thing that I have become conscious of throughout this is I have a set style and I tend to work much better with those who adapt a similar approach. This can be both in my professional and personal life.

As I’ve worked through these courses/books/training I’ve learnt how different people can get on with different traits to their own by compromise, being more flexible and identifying said differences.

However, the problem is if you are not a flexible person you’re not going to try and consider other views and look to work together. Your way is right end of.

As a result I often find we end up in a never-ending cycle of those of us who are more sensitive/wanting to ‘keep the peace’. We start feeling peeved with other’s attitudes/behaviour -> then remember the different types -> we then realise we need to learn to change -> we try and change -> and are then met with others seemingly not bothering to make the same effort -> we then get annoyed again that we’re always the ones trying to be helpful.

So how do we overcome this?

This is something I still feel I’ve not found the answer to.

I get regularly frustrated when others don’t respond in a timely manner, don’t take ‘hints’ and wait for me to be completely and utterly direct and obvious (which they know I may not be comfortable with) and don’t get me started on being the ‘client’ outside of work. I often think of how I have always treated clients and worked for them and cannot believe what a bad service I’m then experiencing when I’m not the service provider out of work.

I’m going through similar things again at the moment. So I’m trying to broaden my approach and read up on it. Yes I’m in the cycle where I’m trying again to change and adapt, but not wanting to get annoyed part way through with others involved. Tricky.

Right now I’m reading a book by Karren Brady on how she worked her way up as a woman. She clearly has a very different tact to me, but I’m sticking with it and trying to learn something.

I’ve also still got Stephen Covey’s book on my Kindle to read and have recently purchased a book about change for work.

Let’s hope these provide me with all the tools I’ll need! I’ll let you know…

In the meantime any tips will be greatly received!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Our love of technology – terrific or terrible?

Thanks to my own stupidity I am completely without my mobile phone today (read: I had too much alcohol this weekend, dropped my iPhone 5 on the floor outside the pub and smashed the entire screen).

My lovely fiancé is trying to take it to a shop and get it repaired for me before he starts his shift so I left my phone in his hands and will hopefully be reunited with it (and it having been fixed) this evening.

I am lost.

I’m not exaggerating, I am actually having withdrawal symptoms at not having it in my handbag, on my desk at work, by my side as normal. I do feel a little on edge.

This, I totally appreciate, is ridiculous.

I can remember years back going on holiday and not taking my mobile phone, I’ve had mixed experiences. When I was younger I missed my phone being there and actually at times reached into my beach bag on hearing a phone, totally forgetting I didn’t even have mine with me! At other times I’ve loved being totally away from it all and nobody contacting me or obsessing over social media updates.

Yet, having to come to work and in the middle of sorting out all sorts in my work and personal life I feel like something huge is missing. I am extremely conscious my phone is not sitting even on my desk for example.

I’m already realising I won’t be able to input my food/drink on my fitness app I use, I won’t be able to check when the bus is due on my journey home, I won’t be able to text my fiancé or friends and family during the day or call them on my break. And as for social media updates, don’t even get me started!

On reflection, I feel this is a sad state of affairs and really worrying that I am so dependent on a small piece of technology.

I’m already well aware how we all live our lives too absorbed in our Facebook accounts for example and was a big fan of the Look Up From Your Phone video – even if ironically we all watched it and shared it on our phones!

We’ve all seen whether it’s with our own children or young relatives how familiar the younger generation are with technology nowadays and so early on and it leaves me constantly torn between whether our love of technology and frankly our obsession with it is a good or bad thing.

Working for a digital company of course I should be interested in and embrace all things digital. And to an extent I do and find it amazing how digital constantly evolves and we’ve got all these cool gadgets and ways to help us in our lives. The fact children are so clued up on this stuff is great and just leads to a future of ever increasing options and digital evolution.

However, another part of me feels so saddened by it all.

I can’t help but feel we’re becoming a society of robots. Our social skills are lacking based more on our virtual friendships on social media platforms and letting everyone know what we’re doing all the time. I myself am completely guilty of regular ‘check ins’ on Facebook, Tweeting when I’ve had a great class at the gym, taking photos on my phone and uploading them religiously and filling in App information as if it’s a regular job (GoodReads book progress, MyFitnessPal dietary and exercise behaviour, tracking my weight).

We see constantly how stats are coming back showing how many people are viewing online content via their phone now, users are constantly digesting data on the go. Websites now need to be responsive and even the type of content shown on a dedicated mobile site needs to be considered differently to previous ideas.

Think about at home when you sit down to watch the TV or read a book, how soon is it before your browsing on your phone and distracted?

I cannot remember the last time I sat down indoors and just sat and relaxed and focussed completely on one thing, without distraction.

So, is this a good thing? Is it great our kids are so technology minded and the area is no longer seen as just ‘for geeks’. Have all these apps meant we’re more in control of our lives and we’re super capable of doing so many things simultaneously? Are we expanding our brain’s capacity? Or in turn are we actually stunting our social skills and development? Are we only able to live through our social media persona now and unable to switch off?

Films used to show the future as a world of robots, super intelligent metal objects which people found far-fetched and rather uncomfortable. In fact are we instead simply creating a world of human ‘robots’ who have no off button and living life in a virtual world?

As you can tell, I really can’t decide which side of the debate I fall on. Does there even need to be sides? I’d be really interested what you think? Particularly those of you who don’t have a job within technology.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Fathers Day 2014

I decided to cook a meal at home for my Dad for Fathers Day

Seafood gnocchi 
Chicken with mozarella in arabiatta sauce with asparagus, carrots, baby corn, mange tout, pesto mash and green beans 
Toffee apple crumble pie with cream
Baileys chocolate shots

And a selection of presents based on things he likes

I hope you've all had a good day too, whatever you did

Friday, 13 June 2014

Fitness fakers

When you think about going to the gym and the essentials needed what do you think of?

Your gym kit, bag, water and a towel?

Or rather is your fake tan topped up, your makeup thickly applied, your best gym gear and revealing outfit packed, along with your designer sunglasses?

I often on a Saturday morning roll out of bed, put my gym kit on and head straight to the spin class, so you can tell which camp I’m from…

Yes, I will have makeup on if I’ve gone for a workout straight from work, but that is the only reason why.

Yet attending my local gym recently I felt like I’ve been surrounded by bronzed-up gym bunnies and arrogant muscle meatheads.

Don’t get me wrong if I had a hot body I too would want to flaunt it and show off how the hard work had paid off.

However, often these people are rude, bowling through the building and barely break a sweat as they wander round the machines not really doing much at all.

Take my spin class, some females have been known to whoop throughout as if they are out clubbing. Now I’m not a complete bore here, when you really get into it sometimes the instructor makes noises and gets everyone going, but an individual doing it on their own when nobody else in the class is of that nature is just cringey.

One lady recently rudely shouted out to the instructor “Oi turn the music up, I can’t ‘ear it!” Charming.

As for the men. What exactly is the point of going to the gym to hog a weights machine and sit on it in your jeans with your woolly beanie on chatting to your mates about your next night out? Or lifting weights that are clearly far too heavy for you and then simply letting them drop with an almighty clang on the floor? Don’t even get me started on the grunts and groans!

And if you dare to walk in their pathway don’t expect them to move. Oh no, they own the gym didn’t you know? They are the kings and queens of the faux fitness world so you better all move around them.

My fiancé has ended up in a coughing fit on the treadmills after a girl jumped on a treadmill directly next to him (there were loads spare, another pet hate!) and had so much perfume on she affected all the surrounding air.

Also I’m sure you’ve experienced the people on their phones (despite numerous signs saying you shouldn’t use them) on the treadmill and bikes? Or the friends in matching Juicy-esque tracksuits side by side on the treadmills having a conversation the entire time.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but is a gym not a place to get fit, lose weight and work out?

Apparently, it’s actually the place to go to ‘check in’ on Facebook and let people know you’re at the gym yet again, but in fact you are there to pose. I’m all for fitness having a social element and people having workout buddies and really embracing the healthy lifestyle. An hour plus of wandering around chatting and eyeing up the similar ‘talent’ is a whole other world.

In another spin class, I was in the middle of stretching at the end when I had to let 2 or more people past (of course they’re ‘too cool’ to stretch!). The best was my return to the ladies changing room to find one female standing in front of the mirror preening. She was literally standing admiring herself – checking out her bum, her tummy and pouting!

She then proceeded to leave the gym in her leopard print hat, skin tight outfit, fake tanned skin and huge sunglasses (worn inside of course!).

Since when did gyms become more about showing off than shedding fat? Flaunting the fact you are ‘fit’ in the attractive sense, not health-wise?

Do you experience this at your gym? Or is it just an Essex thing?...

Fitness favouritism

I've mentioned before about my pet hates in the gym and the etiquette most people follow.

Recently I've rediscovered my love for spinning and have attended a few classes. I'm actually hoping to get back into my old routine of 3 classes a week.

Last night reminded me of 2 things. 

1. The power of the instructor and music and their influence on your class experience

2. Gym posers still exist 

It's fair to say I am quite a creature of habit and nobody will agree moreso than my partner when it comes to spinning!

He already got a telling off last night for just picking any old bike, after strict instructions to 'test them out' first.

Anybody whose done spin before will get my point, particularly in Fitness First Romford where it's often a case of bike roulette in the studio. 

You want to make sure you haven't got:
A wobbly bike
A bike where the resistance doesn't adjust properly
A bike where the pedal straps don't tighten or stay done up 
A bike where any of the height adjusters are too tight to change 

All of these points can make your class painful, frustrating or even cause injury.

Anyway, being an old 'veteran' of the classes I knew Thursday nights were run by a lady called Carmel. But as I got into the studio, met by my fiancé standing next to a wobbly bike (god forbid!) I realised there was a cover teacher.

Sometimes this can be a good thing as they challenge you more and teach you new routines.

To be fair this teacher did that. However, until quite near the end I found the class painful and admittedly rather boring.

The music in the main wasn't my sort of thing and it was so quiet. The instructor was very mumbled and so you couldn't really tell what she was saying. She also had this rather interesting approach to getting us to a standing position on the bike - whistling at us like herding some sheep (a reference I owe to my partner!)

Yet again my taking things a bit too far approach kicked in as I also found it annoying the way she kept referring to adding a gear. Most instructors refer to 'turns' and you add either a full turn, quarter or half.

Safe to say I wasn't overwhelmed by the experience and am hoping the regular lady is back next time.

The difference compared to the recent two classes I've done was huge. My legs didn't seem to want to go very fast at all, I found myself tiring more quickly and I seemed to take a long time to feel the effects in the right places (with other classes I can feel the ache in my quads, abs, arms etc straightaway).

As for the gym posers, well, I'll come back to them in another post - they need a blog of their own! 

The class last night made me think though. 

Do you get more out a class where you know the instructor and their methods?

Do you actually hold positions in the correct way if you know the teacher? And as a result get more benefit?

Or is a 'stranger' key to giving your body a shock and actually working different muscles and working you harder? 

Should you in fact go to other classes to break habit and stop your body getting too used to things? 

I'd love to know your thoughts, whether you go spinning or classes, or just generally are into fitness in some way. 

Comment below...