We’ve all had those moments that we’ll never forget. No matter how hard you try you can never escape them. I don’t think I have told this story to more than 20 people since it happened; it was a situation that made me feel so pathetic that I wanted to crawl under a rock and never come back out.
I wish I could say that it was falling down some stairs in front of the woman of my dreams or splashing water on the front of my jeans in the bathroom whilst on a night out, but it was a little more aggressive than that.
I try to make this as comical as I can each time I tell it because it is funny. I strongly advise you to get comfy and give it your full attention. Here we go...
During my fat phase (you know the one where I was 22 stone and slowly killing myself by swallowing Pringles and smoking at least 20 a day) I worked in pub, then a fancy restaurant, then one day I was told that an ‘amazing opportunity’ was coming my way. It was a chance to be a team leader in a coffee shop in a train station, busy, better money and better for the CV…
The job was a nightmare; I was used to managing a bar with booze and pub grub, not used to making sandwiches and steaming milk for the trendy Londoner’s 'half caff - half decaf (non-GM) soy cappuccino with fair trade chocolate sprinkles on top.’
My stomach churned every time I had to go to work because I knew that each day was more traumatic than the next. Staff called in sick constantly - not because they were sick, but because they just hated the atmosphere.
Managers and directors would swan in during the breakfast rush and critique the set up of the shop. With a queue of up to 40 people you’d have to stop serving just to fix the displays of drinks or change something round to protect the quirky image of the company.
The one evening I was closing up shop, it was 10.30 and we closed at 11. It was a quiet night then suddenly we got hit with a queue of 20 people, some wanting coffees and some wanting their last bottle of beer for the night.
There was a guy loitering by the fridge of beers, we’ll call him 'beer guy' a counter separated us and I could see he was moving in for a grab and run. He picked up two beers as I finished serving a customer; instead of calling the next person in the queue I called over to the beer guy to say that he should pay with me. He was caught out. He quickly came over with two bottles. He’d jumped the queue, I knew I had broken the sacred bond of the English queue culture but I didn’t want to explain to my manager why we had lost 2 bottles of beer.
Whilst I processed his transition the queue became twitchy, so much so that a tall bearded man, we’ll call him 'the muffin man’ piped up. “Oh so you’re gonna serve him before me!” He was wasted, I knew because he was using his girl friend as a leaning post. I pretended not to hear him. He stepped out from the queue and came over, at this point the beer guy had put in his pin-code for his card... It was declined…
I now had the muffin man and the beer guy in front of me whilst I processed the transaction again.
The muffin man began hurling abuse at me, “Oi! Fat F##K! You’re gonna let someone jump the queue?” I asked him to be patient and that I would serve him next… The second card payment was declined. At this point the muffin man got even more aggressive and started to reach across the counter for me, I backed away...
At this point the beer guy grabbed the beers from the counter, along with his card and ran off. I was left to handle the muffin man alone.
He reached across again and realised he couldn’t reach me across the counter... He then grabbed all the muffins that he could from the display and started throwing them at me. It was the most bizarre experience of my working life.
One by one, like Neo from the Matrix, I dodged them. He soon ran out of ammunition, and his girlfriend was trying to pull him back, but his abuse kept coming; “You fat f##cking failure! Working in a coffee shop at 50 years old. What a loser you are!” (I was 25 years old at the time.)
My staff were getting angry, one of my baristas was ready for a fight. I was seeing red, but I wanted to keep things calm as a little crowd was forming. I calmly asked the drunk to move over to the side and I would come around to speak to him. He took that as an invitation for a fight. I just wanted to get him away from the crowd and of course... The muffins. #savethefood
The abuse he hurled at me with his whiskey breath made it hard to communicate calmly, I kept my hands behind my back the whole time and leant towards him. I was inviting the first punch because I would then unleash my many years of kung fu training. No, not really… He called me a “fat failure again” I called him a “drunk arsehole,” this was name calling at it’s finest. He told me we worked for the BBC and I was a "big fat 50 year old loser.” I tried to laugh and poked fun at his lanky demeanour. I may have mentioned something about him and Jimmy Saville, which provoked a push. I was getting closer to the punch. I called him stupid and he went to punch me, his girlfriend got in the way again to stop anything from escalating.
I tried to stay calm, whilst mildly verbally provoking him; on the inside I torn between keeping my job, and going ape on his ass.
Eventually the police showed up and they ushered him away. They grabbed me by the arm and shoved me in a different direction. Shouting at me to stop, I was still standing with my arms behind my back. The police told me that I was out of line and that I should have just ignored him, I explained everything and they didn’t care, they just escorted the muffin man down the stairs and to his train. I on the other hand got a told off for provoking violence in the station.
I waited for the police to leave and then I took my apron off and marched off in the direction of the muffin man. I was out for blood. Turns out I'm rubbish at spotting people in a crowd, so the villain got away. I told my manager about the whole thing the next day and all she cared about with the wastage of the stock. In fact no one except the staff that night really grasped what had happened. I saw it as a defining moment in my life at that time, it defined my low self esteem.
Was the guy an arrogant arse? Yes… Did I deserve such treatment? No…
Muffin throwing aside I was tremendously hurt, not because someone didn’t like me, but because I was viewed as a 50 year old fat failure by a guy that had never even met me. Sure, he was drunk, but I don’t subscribe to the whole, “I was drunk so I didn’t mean it” story. When you are drunk your filters and barriers are taken down. You say what you think at the time. "In vino veritas..."
I guess what I am getting to on this fine Monday morning is that we are all going to face our share of muffin men in our lives. I hate thinking back to that day because I felt so worthless. However, it is that worthless feeling that now fuels me, it is what drives me to be better.
This is just one story in a long list of stories, funny ones too, that have shaped my life and created resilience in my mind. Whenever I feel like I want to give up during a workout, or tough situations arise I go deep in my mind and I say; I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED BY THE MUFFIN MAN!
Try it some time, give yourself the chance to use your past as fuel for the future that you want. If you are true to yourself you’ll realise that their words can’t hold you back, it is ultimately your mindset determines your progress!
I don't know where the muffin man is today, maybe he is at the bottom of a bottle somewhere, maybe he was arrested for assault with a chocolate chip pancake. Where ever he is, in a way he did me a favour, at least that's the way I'm going to look at it.
Have a great week!
STAY STRONG and KEEP MOVING!
Today’s post is going to be a little less philosophical than most; a little more practical.
The other day I was asked how I am able to maintain a healthy diet with training 5 days a week and working full time, as well as on shift patterns.
So I figured that it would make a good post to share with you today.
I do get asked a lot of questions about what I eat and if I’m ever tempted to eat the food that I used to eat before. My answer is always the same, I choose to eat colourful healthy food because I want the best for my body each day. Once you make that decision with regards to the foods you eat then you are instantly empowered.
I don’t believe in counting calories or cheat days and I don’t believe in 'tracking macros' because I believe that we should live a positive life of choice rather than restriction. I feel that there is a great paradox when you enter the world of health and fitness; everyone strives for positive change but the reality for a lot of people is that they see the gym as a chore and their diet becomes the ‘can’t have’ diet. I’ve been there myself - multiple times in my life.
This time round I found food that I really like and exercises that I enjoy doing and I stick with it.
It took me about 2 weeks at first to change up my tastebuds and for my body to really appreciate whole foods again; that was 2 weeks of positive choices when it came to food and drink. I made a conscious effort to remind myself each day that the decisions I was making with each meal would define my health in the future. I could either contribute to feeling amazing or continue feeling rubbish, sluggish and un-inspired.
With that said, I find maintaining a healthy diet these days fairly straight forward.
If you're at a loose end the I recommend investing in a cooler bag that has space for plastic meals tubs. In the bag that I have (6-Pack Bag) there are 4 plastic food tubs and ice bricks that you can refreeze (they fit in the sides to keep everything super cool!) Put aside any thoughts about what people might think of you walking into work with a cooler bag on your shoulder. If it is going to help with your health and vitality then what other people think shouldn’t matter.
The next thing would be to find about 4-5 different meals that you really like, and list them as your ‘work meals.'
I know where all the best ingredients are in the shops that I like to go to. So I make sure that I can find good food at decent prices that work towards giving me the tasty meals I enjoy.
I try to eat my breakfast at home each day; on a work day I’ll have my bag prepped with food - that’ll be done either the night before or I’ll get up 30 minutes earlier to prepare everything. On a day off I tend to make food when I'm hungry or go out for a meal and choose something deliciously colourful.
Now, with those 4-5 meals that you've chosen for your work week all you need to do is make enough for the meals that you'll be having outside of the house. Some people I know prep a whole week of food on a Sunday. I prefer to prep everything on the day, that way I don’t need to use a microwave, I don’t believe microwaves are healthy at all but we won’t go into that today.
Once I’m prepped with my delicious food in my bag I’m good to go!
The truth is that there is always a solution, there is always time to get these things done as long as you allocate the time. I’ve written about this in a similar way before, but some of the best constructive criticism that I ever received was in an interview for a job that I didn’t get. The interviewer wanted me to vet one of his pubs and give feedback in the 2nd interview. I chose a bad time of the day to go to the pub and he pulled me up on it. My response was, ‘I didn’t have time.’ His response was, ‘a good manager will always make the time.'
I you want to manage your life better, feel better and ultimately look better then you are simply going to have to learn to manage your time effectively. Invest in learning new recipes that are healthy and that you enjoy, invest in your body because it is the only one you have! Trust me the time invested is definitely worth it when you regain control of your life.
I hope that information helps you on your journey. If you are stuck for meal options then pop your details in the form below and I will send you over a copy of my recipe book with my favourite healthy meals.
Have a great weekend!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
I firstly must say that I have been a bit slow in posting today. Normally at 6am I have something ready for you to read but today is slightly different.... Today is a special video and I wanted it to be as perfect as possible before you watch it.
You may recall Brian Sibiya who I wrote about before on this blog. If not then CLICK HERE and come back to this when you are done.
Brian came from nothing and is now on a mission to help as many people as he can in the big wide world. The post I wrote about him before - which I'm sure you've read by now - has been the most read post I have ever written. Every week I hear from someone around the world who is inspired by his story.
Three weeks ago he came to me with an idea for a video to show the world how he trains people and I'm happy to feature it as a Motivational Monday post for you today.
I have become really good friends with Brian over the last few months and every day he continues to inspire me with his attitude towards life and others.
There are a lot of people in the fitness industry that are out for themselves, forgetting that there is a whole world of people out there who need help but don't necessarily know where to find it. Obesity rates are still climbing and the health care systems in most countries are only able to treat the symptoms. I dealt with that first hand when I was at my biggest, from chest infections to high blood pressure to sleep apnea and I was told that the medication would help but the cure lay elsewhere. It lay in my mind.
It was an absolute honour to work with Brian on this video and create something that showcases his personality and his work to the world. I feel as though we are both able to help people in our own ways to become stronger and better.
He is truly an inspirational guy and that is what I am all about with this blog and what I do here with my online coaching. I want to provide a platform of information to help others on their journey through life.
I hope that you'll enjoy his video below and all the hard work that his clients are doing in the video too! I hope that it inspires you to get moving today and take charge of your life. If it means you need a helping hand there is always one available, but sometimes all people need is a little inspiration!
Have a great week, STAY STRONG and KEEP MOVING!
I hope that you’ve had a great week.
Most of us have such busy lives that it is really hard to really think between Monday and Friday… Let’s be honest we have all seen or had the “Oh NOOOO it’s Monday” statuses on social media and conversations at work.
Mid-week people get over the ‘hump-day’ A.K.A Wednesday then perk up and look forward to the weekend. Finally we get to Friday and most of the world celebrate by saying “Thank God It’s Friday."
I’ve worked Monday to Friday jobs and also worked in a lot of 7 day business. I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea of living for the two days at the end a week.
I remember back home in Zimbabwe we used to have Sunday night blockbuster movies on TV. It was the most awesome routine because I knew I would really enjoy the final couple of hours of the weekend before the dreaded school week on Monday morning. (We didn’t have Netflix back then - or DVD’s).
If you look at statistics on the most active times on Facebook (I’ve chosen Facebook because it is more social than Twitter and more interactive the Instagram) the most popular times are midweek and in the afternoons. Why? Because the majority of people are seeking escape from their routines or their work. They need a pick me up.
I don’t profess to know offer the answer to everyone’s work/life balance in single blog post; what I can say is that we are all often very eager to get to a certain point in the week. We all count down the days until our next holiday and we often forget to actually enjoy life in the moment. You’ll have good moments in a day and you’ll have bad moments in a day, but your mindset determines how you enjoy your time on this earth.
If you’re stuck in traffic why not put on a good song and enjoy the music rather than rushing your mind to your destination.
We all get stuck in traffic, have deadlines and commitments that we can't always avoid, but we must be mindful that we don’t sit there are wish out lives away.
This is part of the reason that I find exercise so important for a healthy life, if you are committed to the task at hand then you are truly in the moment.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from a book that I am reading at the moment; I’ve shared this with a couple of people this week and it resonated with them.
“Washing the dishes to wash the dishes: Washing the dishes is hardly a pleasant task… Anyone can wash them in a hurry, sit down and enjoy a cup of tea afterwards... While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means that while they are washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly: why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that is precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there by the waves."
On that note I trust that you will take some time for yourself going forward; focus on the enjoyment of everything you do and you might find the world will become a bit brighter for you.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Whilst the Olympics are taking the world by storm with awesome athletes on screen each day achieving amazing results, I'd like to share a story today that will blow your mind!
I actually still can’t comprehend it...
I’ve written about Ben’s broken back, I’ve written about Marc’s car accident and about Brian coming from nothing and making his dreams come true. I have never written about someone who actually doesn't have a pulse.
Andrew Jones was big into his fitness, fitness modelling, bodybuilding, and pushing his body to it’s limits. He built a YouTube channel following and filled cyberspace with videos that offered help and support to all his subscribers and social media followers. A few years ago he became unwell... Very unwell as his videos suggest; he went from putting out great content online and motivating people to sitting in ICU with tubes coming out of his body and trying to stay positive about the things that were happening to him.
His sickness was diagnosed as a cardiomyopathy and as a result he lost his strength gains; he had to focus on just staying alive. The plot thickened when it came to light that he needed a new heart. I could go into way more depth about his story but the main thing you need to know is that his heart is now battery powered.
Whilst in hospital he recorded videos to help explain his situation to his online community. I’m sure the videos helped him, his family, his friends and his followers get through the tough times that they were facing.
Here is his story in a nutshell and video form, trust me it is a great video to watch.
Absolutely NUTS! I mean the dude is literally living on batteries, heck, he’ll give the Duracell bunny a run for his money! Literally!
I strongly advise you to check out his YouTube channel and go through his videos from a year ago; watch how he dealt with his situation on camera and how he documented his hospital life. The best quote I heard in one of his videos is when he said, “I have to remain positive because that’s my blood type, B Positive.”
Andrew could have easily given up on himself, he could have easily said that his life would never be normal again. He could have sat at home with a battery powered heart feeling sorry for himself. Instead he is on the move, training hard, making videos again for his followers and most of all he is inspiring people around the world. As you read this Andrew is living on borrowed time and making damn good use of it whilst he waits for a donor heart.
You can’t tell me that after watching that video you don’t feel the need to go and do something. If Andrew found the switch in his head to get up and start exercising again, then anyone can! It’s not a case of going straight into your exercise of choice and being the best, it’s about getting started in the first place. Taking those first steps in the right direction and keeping consistent with your efforts leads you down the road to progress.
I extend a huge congratulations to Andrew and I truly believe that it is his resilience and positive thinking that has been the driving force behind his return to health. Sure he has had amazing treatment and a hospital to help him, but he was the only one who could take those first few steps in regaining his physical strength.
It just goes to show how much can be achieved with some positive thinking and self belief! I hope you can take something from this story today, I hope you can share it with those who need a boost and I hope they can make the most out of their lives by being inspired to never give up!
Have a great week ahead!
STAY STRONG and KEEP MOVING!
I hope that you've had a great week but if you haven't I hope you can read this post and take solace in the fact that you are deserved of this wonderful blue planet.
I've been meaning to write this piece for a while and kept putting it off for one reason or another. I think the thing that I struggled with at first was how this ties into the blog and how it relates to what I am trying to do here.
Most people that visit this blog might not even realise what the website is actually here to do. The main aim is to put out quality meaningful content for you that is related to fitness. I also offer online coaching that centres on a holistic approach to life. Call it life coaching if you will.
Every day I help people develop their confidence and help them on their journey through life. It is something I am very passionate about because I know what it is like to be down and out about different aspects in life; body image, money, self efficacy the list goes on.
Fitness to me is not just a state of the body. It is also a state of mind. I would never be where I am today if I didn't first change my thoughts and relationship with myself.
I hated my body and myself for a long time, I hated waking up feeling like a beached whale, I hated looking at myself naked, I hated what I had become. I looked at the world around me, the magazines on the shelves with rippling six packs and quick fat burning tips, thinking that I was not worthy of being happy with myself.
To this day I'm still very conscious of body image. I have a song that helps re-align my thoughts when I get worried about my body, it is a song that resonates with me on so many levels because it was written by an artist that I follow closely (Immortal Technique).
The story behind the song is that he was sat with a friends daughter one day; she was upset as she felt that she would never be as pretty as the ladies in the magazines that she was reading. He wrote the song to remind her (and everyone) about natural beauty.
I’ve heard the song live and every time I hear it I get goose bumps. I've embedded the YouTube video for you to listen to below. Whilst you might not be a hip hop fan or a fan of Immortal Technique's political opinion he speaks the truth and I find it uplifting that he reminds us all to be true to ourselves.
“And if you’re healthy they make you think you’re a manatee
Look how they created this euro-centric insanity
Got you brain washed to the point you bleaching your skin
Blind to the truth, you can’t see the beauty within
Cause ain’t nothing with exercise to tighten your thighs
But there’s something wrong with contacts that lighten your eyes."
There is a difference between being healthy and being what is thought of as healthy these days. (Remember when I talk about health I am talking about state of mind and body). The other day I was flicking through channels on the TV and there was a reality show of young girls (10-12 years old) caked in make up, it made me think that the kids today are growing up with a completely distorted sense of beauty. We need to be proud of who we are and when we want to make changes to our bodies we should do them for the right reasons for health and longevity.
“Their lies can’t fade your beauty
You gotta know who you are
Stay strong and always remember
The truth in your heart
Don’t forget there are those who
Benefit from your scars
And who deny’s what’s natural."
Spend time investing in your health the right way with good nutrition and focusing on positive exercises to keep you feeling great, feeling confident. I can’t tell you how much more confident I feel for being the healthiest version of myself. Too many quick fixes are created to counter-act a manufactured insecurity. We are all going to get wrinkles, we are all going to have body fat in places we don’t want it. I’ve got loose skin that annoys me each day, but I am learning to embrace it and enjoy the fact that I can get up in the morning with no pain and I can breathe walking up a flight of stairs.
“These magazines got you caught in a hustle
Cause when you starve yourself
Your body doesn’t burn fat it burns muscle."
I’m not trying to be political with this post. I just wanted to share my thoughts on the way the world is when it comes to beauty. I don’t mean to offend with my words I mean to encourage. I mean to encourage positive change in people’s lives that gives them the happiness that they deserve. Part of that process is acceptance of oneself; accepting that there are things that you can change and things that you should embrace.
I hope that you can accept the truth I speak here.
Be true to yourself, have a great weekend - STAY STRONG and KEEP MOVING!
As a follow up to my initial blog post on going for a week without my phone (READ IT HERE) I thought I’d use this post to do two things.
So without keeping you waiting much longer, here’s my video below. It is a compilation of the thoughts that were going through my head on the days without a phone. I have had to keep each day brief as I tend to waffle on for hours about things and it gets too much. This is an 8 minute video that I think you’ll enjoy.
Thanks for watching the video and if you saved it for later or just skimmed past it well, then we are no longer friends. Yep that’s right…
Nah I’m just kidding.
Getting back on my phone was like a duck to water although it was a little overwhelming in the first couple of days and it was hard to re-centre myself with an abundance of information and white noise to keep me going.
At the start of the week back on my phone it felt as though I had just been let loose in a cake shop with a sweet tooth and a hungry belly. I genuinely couldn’t stop using my phone. (On a side note I had some serious harassment from a person online and so I had to keep tabs on all my platforms before notifying the police.) That kept me pretty focused on my phone for a couple of days.
The truth is that the connectivity is a fantastic thing, as long as we can manage ourselves accordingly. I’m going to source an old alarm clock for the side of my bed going forwards and keep my phone away from me at night.
Before this whole challenge I had a few people say that they could never do it; it would be too hard. Others said that it would be too tough for me and I would cave in. I still managed to get it done and that is not a testament to my resilience it is just me sticking to a plan, to a goal.
If you have set goals for yourself or have a plan in your head then do not let what other people say knock your confidence. Stay the course with your goals, with your self- belief and you can achieve what you want to in this life.
Have a great week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving.
Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.