Do you know why Forrest Gump is one of the best movies I've ever seen? From where I'm sat I think it is because it is less about the acting and the actors and more about the substance of the movie, the overall message.
It is a great movie because it is a story about someone who, most people would right off, a person who is really the underdog... A story that resonates with so many because I'm sure at some point in life everyone has been the underdog, or felt like the underdog.
Forest never waited on the approval of others to do things in the movie, he just did them. He didn’t seem to have any self doubt, just the ability to set his mind on something and progress from there. That’s why the movie was fantastic because deep down we all want to do amazing things and we talk ourselves out of them, we let our minds get in the way.
"I want to lose weight and tone up, but the gym is expensive."
"I want to run a marathon but my fitness levels are too poor.”
“I want to workout, and get healthy, quit the booze and quit smoking, but life is short and you’ve gotta enjoy yourself right?"
Last week I had the privilege of sitting all day on Wednesday at VA Live - an exclusive event for trainers that work at Virgin Active - we came together to learn, share and be a part of something bigger than just our individual clubs. A huge bonus was that we got to rub shoulders with the best in the industry, people who have been at the receiving end of some tough times when it comes to life stories, set backs and building businesses from the ground up.
If you have some time look into the speakers that we heard from, they might just add to your motivation for today.
Each speaker mentioned things that I have been reading about for a while and been trying to share in one form or another through this blog. They also spoke about the development of positive mental approaches to exercise; understanding why we need to move and making it enjoyable. I experienced a lot of that myself during my weight loss, finding training that I enjoyed doing made the a huge difference in forming my healthy habits.
The best part of the day was when a question was asked by a trainer to the panel of speakers. Here’s it is:
“What advice would you give someone who says they are too busy to get a workout in?"
Peter Twist picked up the microphone and said (a version of ) the following:
"Everyone is busy, 7 billion people on this planet and we are all busy with our lives. There are kids busy dodging bullets to get to school, people busy walking to find safe water to drink each day and then there is the rest of us, busy checking Facebook and eating too much to become healthier!"
Let that sink in for a minute...
Is it harsh? No, it is just honest. I made so many excuses about my lack of exercise when I was overweight, one of my worst excuses in my head was:
“It’s not worth training until I quit smoking, exercise will be harder because I need to breathe, I’ll start training when I quit smoking.."
How lame is that!!?? We are starting to get to a stage in the world where obesity, diabetes and heart disease are becoming so common place they are being used as excuses of their own!
This can all change with a simple decision to get up and get moving, walking, running, swimming and learn, learning about exercise and nutrition so that future generations can benefit from our knowledge.
I’ll round off this post with the definition of the word excuse:
Don’t lessen the blame of your inactivity, if you have the ability to move then you can take control of your life and feel awesome for doing it. There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of getting the blood pumping and actually achieving something that you have been procrastinating over for a long time. Trust me, I know first hand.
If you are already working hard at re-gaining your health or maintaining then this post should resonate with you and maybe it can help someone you know.
Don’t wait for tomorrow to get results, start today!
Have a great week ahead.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
I have deliberated about this post, in fact I’m still deliberating… Should I write it? Of course I should! That’s what this blog is all about; by that I mean sharing the most crazy cool, good, bad and ugly things that happen to me week in week out. As well as awesome stories from people around the world that are doing awesome things with their lives.
So where do I begin? Well, as you’ll know if you tuned into the blog over the last couple of weeks that I have been traveling in Thailand. It has been a fantastic trip, I met some really inspiring people and if you haven’t caught last week’s blog post about Mac Rosen and his story then you better pause here and go give it a read!
I’m officially back at work whilst you read this, however I am writing to you on the plane journey back. 12 hours to contemplate what just happened in the last 4 hours of my life. So I’ll share it with you and by the end you’ll have had a bit of a chuckle.
On the way to Phuket I took a bus for 13 hours from Bangkok to Phuket Town bus station; although it was an experience that I think everyone should have in their life I didnt really want to repeat sitting for nearly 24 hours in total on the return to the UK. I decided to spend a little bit of the remaining holiday money on a flight back to Bangkok from Phuket. It meant that I would arrive in Don Mueang airport at 7.30am on Saturday morning, then I would have to transfer to the Suvarnabhumi Airport (50km away) on the other side of Bangkok for my flight at 11.30am. I was cutting it a little fine but a quick taxi ride between the two would solve the issue... Right?
I got my first flight at 6am, leaving the house in Phuket at 4am. Arrived in Bangkok, ran to grab my bags and find a taxi. I was flagging a bit because of my early start so I thought I would treat myself to a final ice coffee before jumping in a taxi. It was from a coffee shop called ‘Amazon’ and it was great! Really got my buzzing - and I wandered over to the taxi rank. As I walked round the corner a taxi driver collared me and took me to his car. He didnt speak much English but I just went with it. Once I'd used a bit of google translate, he realised that time was of the essence to get me to my next flight and took it upon himself to drive like the wind.
We made the 50km journey through Bangkok traffic in less than 1 hour; the combination of his very interesting driving skills, me drinking a large ice coffee, the resounding question of whether or not I would make it through security onto my flight in time and how busy the traffic was going to be became a bit too overwhelming.
I had been sipping my drink on the back seat whilst doing a few things on my phone and by the drink was finished I looked up to see that we were calmly weaving between cars at about 170/180 km/h (105-111 mph).
A few moments passed and I started to feel a little unwell; I wasn’t quite sure how to tell a guy who is doing 170km/h in the fast lane of a motorway (who also doesn’t speak english) that I need to pull over and be sick.
I took deep breaths and scratched the far reaches of my brain to know if the nausea would pass. Luckily for me the coffee cup was pretty close to empty, bar a few ice cubes.
Despite all my breathing and thoughts of anything other than being sick I had to fake a cough and let all the coffee return to the cup whence it came. Obviously there was more than the cup could hold…. Im not going into details of how I finagled my way out of that situation without the driver knowing though.
As we approached the Airport I realised that the fee for the ride was more than I had in my wallet. I needed a cash point. The taxi dude managed to find a place to stop and I went to draw cash, typed in the amount, quickly grabbed the money from the machine then jumped into the car.
It was faster than any F1 pitstop you have ever seen. We got to the departures drop off, I gave him the cash and was ready to jump out when he said that I gave him the wrong money.
Now I don’t know if he hustled me or if the cash machine gave me the wrong notes but either way I got played out. I had to leave my bags with him and run to another cash point in the terminal and draw the money again.
The taxi ride was a more expensive journey than my flight from Phuket to Bangkok, nevertheless I stood in the queue for security after checking in shaking my head and laughing to myself about how I’d been so relaxed over the last 2 weeks, not really worrying about time constraints and deadlines. So much so that I wasn’t really mentally prepared to be thrown back into the whole ‘time is of the essence’ routine.
After all the shenanigans I got to the gate with a little cash left over (170BHT) and if you saw my instagram post from the Airport you’ll know that I found some amazing coconut ice cream. It cost me the exact amount of money that I had left in cash. Fresh and amazing!
I sat at the gate contemplating how, despite my bad luck and pukey nature, I had enough money left for an awesome ending to the trip. Shortly after that I boarded the plane to find two seats free next to me! GREAT SUCCESS!
I guess that sometimes crap things happen and in the past that situation would have really ruined everything about my trip and my day; it would have dictated my mental state for at least a week.
That isn’t the case today though, I feel fine. Did I get screwed over with money? Well, yes. But Im still breathing.
Did I enjoy the puking? No, not really but it makes for a funny story and most importantly it made the ice cream taste like the most amazing thing I have ever eaten.
It’s not about the last few hours for me, although they were spectacularly entertaining if you think about it!
It is about the trip being amazing as a whole, most importantly enjoying each moment going forwards. There is no point in me getting caught up in what just happened because I can’t change it for love, nor money.
So the heading of this post might be a bit of a wet statement that people make when things don’t go well, but at the end of the day it is only our reaction to situations that define how we feel about things. If we try to see the positives and focus on the good then we set ourselves up better for the future.
I hope that you have laughed and it was motivational enough for your Monday morning.
Have a great week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep moving!
The other day we traveled to have some lunch in the middle of Phuket. We went to a waterpark to meet a fellow African on an adventure of her own.
When I heard the term waterpark I thought of a place with rides and rapids, potentially lots of kids… It was quite different, we walked into a very chilled atmosphere where a restaurant overlooks a lake that is set up for wake boarding. It was an awesome day filled with a lot of laughter and some great food.
There were some good tunes playing on the sound system and we ordered food while watching wake boarders come and go. The sense of community was overwhelming, with the owner Rebecca chatting to people and making everyone feel welcome. It seemed like one big family, even the dogs to involved on the boards later in the day.
The most striking thing I saw was a guy with one leg who was wake boarding. I had to do a double take but it was a truly awesome sight. He had no fear, just a big smile on his face - he was truly in the moment.
After a little digging online I found a news story on him, and knew that I had to share his journey. His name is Mac Rosen (Mackie) and he is a professional Wake Boarder from Phuket. He lost his leg during a competition run where he landed a trick and popped his knee out. He was taken up to Bangkok hospital and after his 6th surgery in a single week he woke up to find his left leg missing from the knee down.
It was an unfortunate accident that happened whilst he was doing the sport he loved so much; the accident left him devastated but his attitude towards the sport from a young age was never to give up. He simply applied that to his new situation and with the support of his friends and family at Anthem WakePark in Phuket he is back on the water again; “I’ve come back (from surgery) alive, so I should pursue my dream!"
A few months ago Rebecca and Mackie’s friends from Anthem threw a fundraiser to get him back on his board and to cheer him up - it was a gathering of people for a great cause, to show support for another person. The most striking thing that I have found in the different places that I have lived and traveled to over the years is that in every single community there are people who inspire others to be better than they were doing the day before.
Mackie could have easily let his set back rule his life instead he chose to get back to the things he loves with the people he loves. I truly believe his mindset shows that you should live your life the way you want to, work around your limitations but don’t let them define you. If you check out the video at the end of this post you can see his story in his own words and even watch him take to the water on one leg!
I have first hand experience with trying to wake board, I couldn’t even stand up in the first hour of trying, so for a guy to actually do it with one leg… Well, all I can say is that I have mad respect for him and for his determination to keep going in the face of adversity.
I hope that you can take something from his story today, learn from his resilience, self belief and pursuit of what makes him happy. See if you can apply some of that good energy into your life going forward, people gravitate towards the inspirational people in this world, the question you have to ask yourself is:
“WHO AM I GOING TO INSPIRE TODAY?"
Have a great start to your week.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Today I'll share with you a little video that I made a few hours after I landed in Thailand for my holiday last week, so stick around to watch it :-)
I thought it pertinent to share this, not for the acknowledgement of the exercises that I did, but simply to say that we all have a choice to maintain healthy habits and treat them with the utmost importance no matter the circumstance.
What do I mean by that? Well, it's safe to say that I am relatively new to the fitness industry, a few years young. I like to think that my youth is a benefit because I don't look at the industry through rose tinted glasses. I don't see it as a cash cow or just another job, I am passionate about inspiring others to be the best that they can be.
The greatest thing that I have noticed in the industry is that there is a saturation of people fighting towards short term goals. Looking at the 'next holiday six pack,' or the 'summer body.' Whilst it is great to have goals and strive towards them there tends to be a 'yoyo syndrome' that kicks in.
People work really hard for a few months and then let it all go on holiday with no training and making unrealistically poor food choices. Heck, it even works the other way around with a whole industry that revolves around fitness retreats like ones here in Thailand where people come to lose weight and feel better. They spend their hard earned cash on feeling better (short term solutions) and don't maintain it.
What's the point of that? I can tell you from first hand experience that with the 'yoyo syndrome' you can set yourself up to gain more weight even faster in the future and not just the flabby bits, but more of the bad visceral fat too.
It's the one thing that I have done right this time around with my weight loss and it keeps me excited for holidays where I actually have spare time to train.
A lot of people bust a gut (literally) to get to the gym and prepare for 'holiday mode,' they re-arrange their schedules and make the commitment to TIME spent in the gym. Then suddenly on holiday ironically TIME is abundant and the good habits that have been developed fall by the way side.
My focus with my clients has and always will be, building a solid foundation and understanding that healthy habits can last a lifetime. Creating a healthy and happy way to train so that you actually look forward to a session because you understand why you are doing it and you enjoy the movement.
I made the video below at a bus station in the centre of Bangkok. I hadn't slept for 20 hours, I was tired and stiff from the flight but I knew I had to move. I scouted the area, bought some water, bought some food for afterwards, purchased anti bacterial wipes and cream - then found a dirty corner to train in as I waited for my bus. People looked at me funny for a few minutes and then didn't care anymore because they saw that all I was doing was movement and exercise.
I hope that you can see that I'm just a dude who likes to train now, and that I always implement a policy of training on holiday every second day, I move, I get sweaty and feel amazing for it.
See if you can set that as your challenge before your next holiday. See if you can plan a little ahead of schedule and include some sort of fun run or family fitness challenge. You might just have the best rush of endorphins on holiday that you've ever had.
Let's all stay away from the 'yoyo syndrome!' Enjoy the video below and if you're interested in forming healthy mental habits towards movement and diet then feel free to get in touch!
Stay Strong this week and Keep Moving to your goals.
The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirl wind so I thought I would jot down what has happened so that you can share in the craziness!
If you have been following my blog for a while then you’ll know that I have made a concerted effort to be positive and really use mindfulness techniques to take the positives and enjoy them as well as take the negatives and learn from them.
I was fortunate enough to find myself in the right place at the right time at work when a call came in to help Ronan Keating out on his world tour as he passed through Birmingham. He needed two training sessions, one on the 26th and then another on the 27th before his shows in the evenings. Naturally I said yes and even though I only had a few days notice I stayed pretty calm about the whole thing.
A couple of days after the phone call I was heading into work and the exhaust fell off my car. The whole time I laughed even though I had to get to work and I had no idea what state the car would be in by the time I had to head in - I called a friend and before long we had the exhaust strapped up using a wire, genius work and I have to say that I have the best sounding car for miles around as the exhaust came loose from the manifold. I spent the whole week completely booked up and unable to get it looked at so I’ve been hoping that the wire holds.
Despite my car troubles I made it into Birmingham to deliver both my sessions to Ronan, riding into town with my sound system booming and the exhaust screaming! I felt like a regular gangsta! I was shaking like a leaf with nerves by the time the sessions came round. The sessions went very well though and the drills that I put together worked a treat, something unique that he had never done before and enough to make him question his efforts going forwards. He was so pumped up at one stage that he asked me to record a video of him doing the moves on his phone!
We ended the sessions and I was buzzing - if you’d told me two years ago that I would be where I am today with my fitness levels and training Ronan Keating to move better and grow stronger I would have laughed out loud. I was and still am immensely thankful for the opportunity to grow and learn with an experience like that.
So I had a major highlight in my week and then a bit of set back too with the exhaust. I came out the sessions with Ronan feeling good and ready to fix my car on my day off…. However I lost my car keys. I couldn’t find them anywhere and ended up doing half the things that I had planned for my day off, I was annoyed and had to rely on my friend Gaz again to come and pick me up to get things done. However like the exhaust situation I managed to make a little joke about it all. When I got home in the evening I managed to find my keys in the bag that I had with me all day long! HAHA!
So I had another set back in the week and something that was a little stressful but mostly amusing. To balance things out I had some great feedback from people on my blog posts and a really cool wedding invitation through from some friends for next year. I had some good training sessions for myself and made some new friends at work too.
As I write this I have just finished a really tough shift at work where things didn't go as smoothly as they could have. I had to keep reminding myself that bad days come and go and my overall attitude is what counts going forward. (Luckily I had friends at hand to remind me of that too).
Now, you’ve had a quick run down of my week and there are some pictures of the events below for you to check out if you’d like. You’re probably sitting there thinking, what is the point in all this mumbo jumbo?
The point is that I had some really high points and really low points in my last two weeks. In fact the last couple of months have been pretty crazy, but you know what? It is all good, I have managed to remain calm (mostly) I've had the support of friends and family when I needed it and that is what life is all about.
I’ve had to accept that even though my life has changed for the better in so many ways over the last two years, things will still go slightly wrong sometimes and then things can quite quickly go amazingly well too! I used to have a major issue of not being able to let go at the end of a long day, now I get to write a blog and share my story, laugh and think about ways in which I can learn from the good, learn from the bad and make things work for the immediate future.
I don’t really know how many people my blog posts eventually reach, I sincerely hope that you have found something in this one today that shows you that Forest Gump was right, “Life is a box of chocolates, you just never know what you are going to get.” In fact now that I think about it, there is only one way to end this post, Forest Gump had a great quote, but Ronan says it better when he sings that, “Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it!”
Hopefully that's made you chuckle and hopefully the point remains, focus on the good and learn from the bad this week!
Have an awesome week ahead and when you hear from me on Friday I will hopefully be on a beach sending wonderful pictures of cool things through cyberspace on my Instagram - so you better follow me there!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.