Hey guys a quick video and post today to ask you...
Who knows where your positive choices will take you?
4 years ago today I started a journey that changed my life in so many ways.
It started with breaking some habits, some really bad habits... It started with understanding that change takes time, in fact that was the biggest habit to break.
I suffered from feeling two things...
I gave those two feelings up in the first few weeks of eating better and living a more healthy life. I chose to focus on making my life better each and every day.
I chipped away at my goals, I stumbled, I fumbled but I remained focused each day on making better choices for my body, my health and my mindset.
I chose to nourish my body with great food and good exercise - the result was that I changed my life.
4 years and 64 kilograms later I am in a position to help others change their lives. Being an example of what can be achieved when the focus shifts to health and vitality.
I've always loved the saying, "be the change you want to see in the world." I want to see a world that thrives...
Who knows where your positive choices will take you? I had no idea that I would be training in front of a camera to help others change their lives.
I never thought I'd be standing in room of 40 people leading them to be stronger and better versions of themselves...
A wise friend once said, "you don't have to see the whole staircase to know where you're heading, you just have to take the first step."
You can make a change today, you CAN stop smoking, you CAN stop drinking, you CAN stop comfort eating, you CAN stop taking drugs…
I've been there on all of those counts, I know how hard each of those obstacles were to overcome.
My advice to anyone looking to make a change in their lives, start will mindset, workout why you want to change and what is holding you back, write all the reasons down.
Then take some time each day to remind yourself of why you want to change, and work on letting go of the shackles that are holding you back. One point, one step at a time and you’ll discover amazing things along the way.
Remember you CAN change!
You just have to stay strong and keep moving!
It has been 2 years and about 6 days since I first did my ZUU level one course in the UK. As a personal trainer it was an awesome experience to be in a room with people who were passionate about the industry and who wanted to see genuine change in the world.
ZUU is all about movement and standing in that room having lost 64 kilograms I knew that movement (and good nutrition) saved my life.
After all, movement is life.
I was introduced to ZUU training by a few trainers at Solihull Virgin Active in 2015 and I have mentioned ZUU in total about 16 times in this blog… Here’s the search result if you’d like to catch up with some reading on it. https://goo.gl/8Y79Yr
Over the last two years ZUU has given me the chance to change my approach and interaction with people. It has helped form some really strong habits in my life. It has provided me the chance to build a business (We Move Fitness) with a friend that encompasses everything I stand for when it comes to movement, lifestyle and exercise.
The most important part for me is about the community it has formed. If you watch my first ever YouTube video (CLICK HERE) then you’ll hear a very squeamish Brendan talk about building a community... Fast forward to today and I am lucky enough to be a part of a community of people who want to make themselves better each day, within Raw Motion Fitness, within Virgin Active Solihull, within We Move Fitness and within the global community of people who do ZUU from Australia to the USA.
With that said, there is a push to put ZUU in TWO, a simple exercise drill, into the minds and lives of an even bigger global community, my challenge to you today is to try this out. It is two short, simple and effective exercises to add to your day to make you feel better and move better.
When dealing with fitness and change in your life, remember three things.
There will be more on progression next week in a super duper special blog post, for now just remember that you can do what you want to do, you just have to give it a go!
Start your day with ZUU in TWO and remember to...
Stay strong and keep moving!
The other week I saw a man shout at a woman on a train…
He had gotten onto the train heading to London and he seemed like he was on a mission. The train was full and seats were hard to come by, yet he found one. The only problem was that a lady was asleep, she was listening to her music and had put her bag on the empty seat that he wanted. The bag prevented the man from sitting down, he was visibly annoyed and at first he said, “excuse me,” she didn’t budge. In the space of 40 seconds his voice escalated from conversation level to a shout, “EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME!” The lady still didn’t budge, the man continued to make a scene before being offered another seat further down the carriage.
It was a bizarre moment, one that sent my mind racing, she did wake up and move her bag for the next person. I couldn’t help think that all the man had to do was politely reach out and tap her on the shoulder to wake her up… Then I started to think that maybe he wanted to but wasn’t sure how she would react, maybe he had a day from hell and just wanted to take it out on someone. Maybe she could hear him the whole time and thought she’d just pretend to be asleep. Maybe she thought, “I don’t want to sit next to such an angry person.” Then that made me think of his ego, he seemed like a business professional. Maybe he felt like he was more deserving than anyone else, maybe he thought, “I paid for my ticket fair and square, I deserve a seat.” Maybe he’d had a long week, maybe he had a lot going on at home and at work... Maybe he was overworked and stressed and it all came out in one moment, one moment that influenced the minds of many people on the train into believing that he was a bit of a… Well, not a very nice person.
I guess what shocked me was how he went about things, that’s what made me think that his ego had gotten in his way. Instead of making a scene and trying to make the lady feel rubbish he could have accepted that she wasn’t responding and moved on or, again, used his hand to reach out and engage with her in a less aggressive way. I noticed at one point he did actually pause and look around for validation from everyone else on the train for his actions, the energy was tense as you could sense people had thought he was out of line.
"We can seek to rationalise our worst behaviour by pointing to outliers.” - Ryan Holiday.
After I got off the train in London I didn’t give the situation much more thought as I wanted to enjoy my evening watching Blink 182 at the O2 Arena. As we got to our seats at the show news broke of Chester Bennington killing himself, Chester was the lead singer of Linking Park, a band that I grew up listening to. It was a complete shock because you naturally assume that rock stars are always going to be there making albums and touring the world. That, in turn made me wonder about what it must be like being a rock star, getting on stage and performing to an audience, thousands of people screaming for you, thousands in love with your talent. It must be such an ego trip, imagine how hard the come down must be after a show when they get home and realise that the fans aren’t there. It must take ages to recover from a tour, it must be like the holiday blues only more intense. Maybe that is why so many pop stars lose themselves chasing a high through drugs and alcohol…?
In many respects the age of social media has created mini celebrities, communities of people following, commenting and liking someone for the content they provide. Social media and websites allowing people to purely post a highlight reel of awesomeness that contributes to a dopamine rush of love through digital likes and feedback. Behind the scenes there is often a very different story. What happens when the likes disappear? What happens when the power goes off? What happens to the generation of kids growing up who seek social validation through a screen rather than through 121 engagement. Do they become socially awkward? Stressed? Angry? Do they become the man on the train?
"Our culture fans the flames of ego.” - Ryan Holiday
Just over a month ago I wrote and said I would be taking a hiatus from writing, I’m quite clearly back now, but I wasn’t in a great place mentally and I didn’t want to force content out to the blog for the sake of a post. My blog has always been about sharing my experiences in life, the stories of the people that I meet and providing insight into the way that I have been able to change my life. The ultimate goal is to help people feel better about their lives, situations, fitness levels; even if it is just for 5 minutes on a Monday when they want to detach from things or get their minds ready for the week ahead.
In the weeks leading up to the last blog post I wrote there was a lot of excitement around things I was doing within my work, I was very positive that everything was on the right path, I was leaving Virgin Active to be a freelance trainer, it turned out things didn’t go the way I thought they would. Part of that was down to me and the other part being down to situations I can’t control or go into. I was also in a situation where I was over trained. I remember looking over my workouts one evening and realising that I had trained 12 days in a row without having a rest. One thing led to another and I ended up injured and pretty emotional. I actually lay in bed one night angry, sad and resentful all at the same time because, in part, I had let me ego get the better of me. ‘Just one more session and I’ll rest...'
"Ego is the enemy, we cannot improve the world if we don’t understand it, or ourselves. We can’t take or receive feedback if we are incapable of, or uninterested in hearing from outside sources. We can’t create opportunities, if instead of seeing what is in front of us, we live inside our own fantasy. How are we supposed to reach, motivate and inspire others if we cannot relate to their needs?” - Ryan Holiday
One thing led to another with work and at one point I thought that I could possibly return, emotionally, to the Brendan of old, chowing down 20 cheeseburgers in an attempt to quell the emotional struggle. Then I remembered something that someone had told me once, I had to ‘sweep the shed.’
It is a lesson in humility taken straight from the All Blacks rugby team where the players would, after a game, sweep the changing rooms and clean up after themselves as a sign of respect. A sign that it didn’t matter that they were the All Blacks, world champions, they could still be humble and respectful. With that in mind (and I thought about redaction of my blog post where I said I was leaving Virgin Active) I turned round and went back to work as a fitness coach and personal trainer at Virgin. There are a multitude of reasons for that decision, however the return meant putting my hand up and saying that sometimes, things just don’t work out. On my first full shift back I grabbed a mop and started to clean the stairs, each day since I have tried to help a fellow staff member in some way, not for anything other than the idea of ‘sweeping the shed.'
I’ve always tried to remain humble about things in my life, even with my weight loss, I like to put my story out there to help people understand that there is more fire inside us than we believe. There is a fight and resilience in each of us that can power the most amazing experiences in the world. It is very easy in today’s society and especially the fitness industry to become consumed by ego. I see it every day and at a certain point even having too much humility can become egotistical.
My time off has given me the reminder I needed that this blog is my way of sharing my philosophical approach to life. It has always been focused on self development and how fitness training is part of developing the strength in our character and in our minds.
A major influence in my life, my reading and my approach to writing has revolved around Stoicism and the idea that we can’t always control events in our lives, but we can control how we react to them. A positive approach to situations through wisdom, temperance, fairness and courage can result in a balanced and happier life. I unfortunately allowed myself to forget those virtues, but as I have said before, we are all fallible. Raw Motion Fitness is my life’s work; the blog and working with people 121 being the vehicle enabling people to change any self defeating attitudes they have formed about their circumstances. In a couple of weeks it will be 4 years since I started on a journey to change my life, 4 years since my willpower became the driving force that has given my life meaning again. I hope that you’ll stay tuned in the coming weeks for more writing and mumbling on my front, that can hopefully lead you to feel inspired and ready for the challenges of the world.
I don’t profess to know all the answers, I do know that changing my life through my mindset and then through my physique has given me the chance to share what worked for me in the hope that it works for you.
We all have moments in life that knock us down, make us feel rubbish or that we are embarrassed about. We can choose to let those moments define us, and define our behaviour going forwards or we can use them as fuel to help spin us into a direction that we are happy heading in. Ultimately I don’t think anyone wants to be like the man on the train, and he might be sitting at home right now trying to forget that he was even on the train that day. All we can do is take the good, with the bad, learn from both and use them to help us along our way, striving to be wiser, fairer, have more temperance and be courageous in the face of adversity.
I hope that you take from this blog what you need, most of all I hope that you STAY STRONG AND KEEP MOVING!
Out of the ordinary for me to post on a Sunday evening, but the main reason is to maintain a fresh and positive approach to your Monday morning.
I have had a very interesting few weeks and there have been various moments where my self awareness has kicked in and forced me to question myself. Each week I spend a lot of time on each blog post because it is very important to me that I help to spread positivity and joy. The world is in desperate need of it.
Since losing weight I have truly believed that we are in control of what surrounds us and how our lives take shape. How we project ourselves to the world has a direct correlation to what we receive. Lately I have watched things around me that have not taken shape and as a result I have struggled to see the glass half full. Emotion has been high and the time for rational thought has been less than adequate; this has resulted in the feeling that I am trying to force things to happen in my life that are not ready yet.
Looking over the blog post I had written for tomorrow; it is full of anger and frustration, it is something that the readers of this blog would not be expecting.
There are always going to be times in life that call for deep reflection and I cannot allow this blog to endure me forcing content for the sake of continuity.
Quality and positivity is what I have been working towards each week since 2014 and whilst this blog means a great deal to me Monday’s motivational segment could quite easily turn into the forced chore of the week. I will not allow that to happen.
I’d like to take this time to say thank you for your readership of the blog, I will be taking an indefinite hiatus from posting.
Hopefully in some time I can come back to these weekly posts with a renewed sense of purpose.
As always Stay Strong and Keep Moving.
When I was over weight I just wanted to be able to move well and have enough energy to enjoy my days off... Now I find enjoyment in testing my body, have a watch of this video and understand that you have the power to change your life, you've just got to commit to it and over come your doubts.
Have a great week!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving, ooo and share this with friends and family too!
Last week a news story broke about Tiger Woods, he was arrested for a suspected DUI - as a lifelong fan this news hurt. Tiger is my hero, he is a legend when it comes to golf and I have a huge amount of respect for him.
Despite the shameful behaviour of those that leaked his arrest videos, his situation reminded me of a few things; the most important of which is to take the pressure off myself. I think we are all guilty of placing huge amounts of pressure on ourselves in some way, whether it is 'keeping up with the Joneses,’ being ’successful,’ or driving a fancy car… Let me explain…
As humans we are inherently flawed, I think in many ways people can spend their whole lives trying to avoid imperfection. We revere celebrities and people who achieve a lot with their talents because in their field they exemplify some form of perfection.
I look around today and I see kids growing up with Instagram feeds filled with filtered faces, perfect lighting highlighting aesthetics, Facebook statuses filled with people unknowingly contributing to a narcissistic digital persona. A filtered perfection. We are all guilty of it, I am too, remember we are all flawed individuals like I said.
I write this blog to reach out and build trust with people, I write it to help YOU realise that despite how the world may seem some times, there is awesome stuff happening every day. With all that said I have been deeply saddened by the news of Tiger being arrested. It saddened me because he is having to deal with failure and breakdown (if you’ve not read about his story in much depth then take some time to read this comprehensive account of his life to date.)
In short, his marriage, his relationship with his father and now his body have all failed. For a man who was deemed invincible at one point that must be a pretty tough burden to bear. It saddened me more to read that despite the support for him to ‘look after himself’ there was little mention of the fact that he is still one of the greatest influencers the world has ever seen...
We celebrated his victories and hated him losing because he was the 'perfect' golfer in many people’s eyes - we admired his work ethic and his respect for the game - we marvelled at his creative genius and his ability to stay in the moment. Mentally and physically he was better than any other player alive. He was an athlete in a time where golfers were anything but.
He still drives sales for golf companies, creates jobs and infrastructure with his personal brand and has inspired countless junior golfers to head out into the world and become the best versions of themselves. He has lifted so many people in his lifetime through his foundations, not to mention the outreach work that the PGA Tour do week in and week out with underprivileged communities. Tiger has helped so many people in so many ways and he did all through passion and love for his sport.
Watching things unravel for him with the marital scandal and this most recent DUI should remind us that we are all fallible. A natural response to a celebrity, or sports hero showing weakness is criticism, it seems a scolding in the public eye makes everyone feel better about their mistakes, but here’s the thing; highlighting someones else’s flaws doesn’t result in a better world. It just results in people being pushed apart.
"That what I am involves what you are. I don’t know who I am unless I know who you are and you don’t know who you are unless you know who I am.” Alan Watts
In other words you and I are not separate. Two sticks alone are simply two sticks, if you lean two sticks together at the right angle they can stand together and the more you add in the right way the more structure and support there is. Take one away and they will fall. We are all locked together and a part of this universe together but we haven’t been taught to feel that way about ourselves.
In my view the only way forward (for us and Tiger) in this world is with support, I would never have been able to change my life without the support of my family and friends, they wanted me to succeed in my weight loss and cheered me every step of the way. The same way that my clients depend on me for support; I cheer them on, I'm there to push them when they want to give in and there to congratulate them when they succeed.
Think of it like this; a tree needs soil, water, wind, sunlight and rain to grow strong for it cannot do it alone.
Tiger is going through something in his life that is tough, possibly something that a lot of us can identify with. I for one will stand by him and show support because I’ve been there, I lost the chance to play the sport that I love as a career and it hurts. I failed at achieving what I set forth in my mind and it hurt, but I rose again with the support of others. Whilst I still doubt myself and question my decisions each day I know that I am an able and capable person with a lot to offer the world and so are you!
So my final thoughts for this week are simple:
I wish Tiger well and I hope that one day he can read this and understand that even in his darkest time he still helped me to understand myself and the world around me a little better. He helped me reach out to you today with this rather long blog post and hopefully make an impact in your week so that you can go out into the world and be better than you were yesterday.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
When you were a kid did you ever laugh so hard that you couldn’t breathe? Did you ever think that you’d wet your pants because you were in hysterics?
I remember a lot of laughter, the one that sticks out the most is Mr Blobby. Now, I’m not from the UK but I do remember my dad coming back from a business trip to the UK with a video tape (VHS) of Mr Blobby… I really can’t describe the level of laugher that ensued after pressing play.
Coming over to the UK I thought that everyone would have seen it, I mean come on, it was hilarious. As it turns out my perception of Mr Blobby was completely different to people in the UK that actually knew who he was. It turned out that the VHS I had grown up watching was simply a compilation of his greatest moments on TV… When I found this out I felt like there was a whole world of people who had truly missed out.
It probably loses a lot in translation, but at the time it was the funniest thing that I had ever seen - it’s not because of the actual theatrics, its because he was so rubbish at moving around in that suit. The clumsiness and the way Garth cannot control himself all led to me absolutely dying with laughter as a child. Now that I am more grown up I think back and chuckle. I might watch the video a few times each year as a real ‘pick me up.’
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that I love to go off on a tangent then swoop it back around… I’m all about the positive vibes and laughing is one of the best sources of goodness that you can give your body.
It is an integral part of any fitness class or clients session that I do - I have a very dry sense of humour and I tend to make awkward jokes to get people to smile. I think that is all part of a giant recipe that can make us feel better about ourselves.
My question to you today is can you find your own Mr Blobby? Can you find something that makes you laugh and smile and helps you reconnect with your inner child? Put some laugher at the forefront of your day and you'll soon find that the bad stuff that you can't control will soon become less of a thing to worry about.
Sure it's not all butterflies rainbows and giant Mr Blobby's in my life each day - but finding time to laugh is something I've come to love.
There's always something to smile about - even if it is an idiot in a pink and yellow polka dot costume that falls over a lot.
Have a great week ahead.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving
Today’s post is a bit different… Before you read this I'd like you to put away any preconceived ideas that you might have about people in prison because this story might just change the way you look at your life.
I stumbled across a Ted talk the other night, I normally listen as I fall asleep, kind of weird, I know. The video I landed on had me transfixed and watching to the very end. It was a talk by a guy called Curtis Caroll, Curtis is an inmate in San Quentin Prison in California and his talk was all about money and how it changed his life.
Curtis grew up in Oakland California, raised a the height of the crack epidemic with family that was heavily involved in drugs. At the age of 14 school wasn't on his agenda, it didn't offer him a future in his eyes, but crime did. In crime he found brotherhood, a sense of belonging; he found money and a future because people told him he had potential, the people around him believed in him, albeit for the wrong reasons.
He couldn’t read, write or spell but he understood that money was what he needed if he wanted to break free from waiting in line for food at soup kitchens. Times were tough, he watched his mother give blood for $40 so that she could get some money together. There was no sense of community in his neighbourhood, everyone was on their own trying to make enough money to survive.
At 17 years old he was arrested for robbery and murder and so began his time in prison. Confined within prison walls and surrounded by people who had similar stories to his he realised that things weren't going to get any better. At 20 years old he forced himself to pick up a book, he forced himself to learn how to read because he needed to change his life. He wanted to understand how the world worked, he wanted to understand how to make the most of his situation.
It was the hardest thing he had ever done. Harder than seeing his family suffering with drugs, harder than watching his community struggle.
The more he learned the more he realised that he had a really big opportunity to help other people change their lives. He started to learn about managing finances, about the stock market and how prison inmates could make the most out of the money they get paid each year for the work that they do.
If you are unfamiliar with the prison system in America then you might be surprised to find out that a lot of parolees will keep offending to stay inside because going back to their communities means facing more hardship. In prison people have a warm bed, clothes, food and jobs to do that earn them some money. They have a sense of purpose.
Over the last few years Curtis has developed a curriculum of finance management that is now taught in the prison system to empower people who really want to change their lives. "Financial education for me has been a lifesaver," he says. "And I have always been passionate about trying to make money. The problem with that money is it was focused in the wrong area — crime." Curtis is giving his fellow inmates the tools to create a brighter stronger future for themselves. He is helping his community…
The reason I’m sharing this with you today is not to make you feel sad for people in prison, nor is it to judge Curtis on the crimes he has committed. I want you to understand that where ever you are in your life you can always make positive moves, you can help the people around you and you have something fantastic to contribute to the world.
Curtis is still in prison, he has accepted the punishment for his crimes and is trying to make things better in the world, maybe in the hope that he makes up for the wrong he has done.
His sentence is 54 years to life; now, I don't know about you, but somehow the early morning alarm clock that annoys me doesn't seem so bad right now... Curtis is an example firstly, of the road you should avoid in life, but secondly an example of someone who did take a wrong turn and has managed to make the best of a rocky road. He took responsibility for his actions and began to put a positive voice out into the world.
I know I don't have a life sentence in prison, but I am determined to make it my life's work to help people become stronger and better people. So start your week this week and be determined, be fearless and go after the things you want in this world. Make your future bright, Curtis made his future better by embracing his surroundings and finding a way through the tough times. Are you ready to do the same?
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
I’ve been writing this blog for a while and I feel like my reach is far beyond anything I ever thought possible. I was thinking about the progression of the blog the other day and talked it through with friends and it became apparent that, although I am reaching a certain demographic with my words, I could be reaching more people to help them.
So here we are, the first in a series of videos that re-visit blog posts from a while ago. With a retrospective view I will be touching on the points that matter most when it comes to each post to give you guys the most out of my content, not to mention you get to see my beautiful face! 😃
I’d like you to know that I really appreciate the support that you have given to the blog, its great to be able to touch people’s lives each week. With the readership the blog has grown, so too my knowledge base, confidence and ultimately you have given me a platform to take Raw Motion Fitness to the next level!
With that said if you could share this with anyone to help brighten their day or set them in a new direction I would really appreciate it. Have a watch of my video below and if you have YouTube go a head an subscribe as the videos will be coming out every week and not necessarily part of the blog.
As always, have a great week ahead! Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Since I’ve lived in the UK there has always been a massive drive towards summer; it’s a time when people go on holiday, relax and enjoy the warmer weather. It’s also a time that a lot of people frantically prepare for, in terms of body image.
Here are some of the things I’ve heard over the last few years.
“I’m going on holiday soon so I really need to shed some weight and get fit.”
“I need to get my abs to show by the time I go away.”
“I need to feel good in my bikini."
I’ve written about this in a slightly different way before, but I feel like it is a good time to revisit this topic. If we were to take a cross section of people who are starting training or who have been getting fitter for a while I believe there would one main goal or driving force:
**Everyone would love to look really good naked**
Let’s face it, you’ve probably gotten out the shower or bath and looked in the mirror at some point and thought of a area that you’d love to change. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look like the best version of yourself, however, there is always the potential for people to become either too obsessed with their imperfections.
I don’t spend much time looking into celebrity lifestyles, but the last couple of weeks has seen Kim Kardashian’s buttocks being paraded around the internet. Piers Morgan wrote a very scathing article about her in the Daily Mail, which was actually hard to argue with. He used strong words to say, amongst other things, that she has helped to create a world for her 51 million followers where there is a huge focus on material wealth and the ‘perfect' body. Plastic surgery and the wonders of photoshop have catapulted her into the hot seat at the moment as people are starting to see through the charade.
The reason I mention this is because we all seem to want what other people have got. All the while we are the most advanced version of humanity ever; we have the ability to nurture a nature of happiness through contentment and yet we still crave the lifestyle of others.
My point today is that being happy doesn’t mean to say that everything in your life is perfect (or what society deems is perfect). It means that you can look past the imperfections in your life and focus the awesome planet that surrounds us. Some of the happiest people I have ever met in my life are the ones who have never even heard of Kim Kardashian, or butt implants for that matter.
The main thing I wanted to put across is that you are great! You have the ability to look good naked; it all starts with believing that you do look good in the first place. We can chisel away the exterior as much as we like but we’ve got to be able to recognise that true happiness lies far beyond the physical.
My mission for you this week is to head out into the wide world and find 5 things that truly make you happy. I’d be interested to hear what makes your list, more importantly how it makes you feel to acknowledge the true happiness around you.
Have a great week ahead.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.