YOU'RE IN LUCK!
I wasn't going to write another blog post until next year. I was going to sit and let the wonderous thoughts that I sometimes have manifest into some wise words to kick the new year off in style.
Alas you are reading this blog on Christmas Eve of 2016 and if you are reading in the future, let's say 2017, then I hope that the future is good and there are no flying cars just yet because most of us are only just learning to use the roads properly.
So why am I writing a blog post when I should be letting awesome thoughts manifest?
Well... Over the last few days I have been speaking to a lot of people. Mainly because that is my job - I would say out of the people I have spoken to there are a large number of them who are anxious about the holiday weight gain, anxious about how to control themselves on Christmas day with all the food, chocolates and cakes and mince pies... The list goes on...
I think that it is fair to say that most people are trying to maintain a balance in their lives throughout the year. Balancing family, stress, work, weight gain, weight loss and fitness levels can be a tiring task - so much so that it has created the very industry that I work in.
I think it is safe to say that we become our own worst enemies at this time of the year. If we over-indulge we beat our selves up for it in one way or another. If we don't drink too much or party too much then we worry about what other people may think.
Many people will be waiting for the 1st of January to start 'getting back on it' in terms of diet and exercise. My question is why wait that long? If you are struggling at this time of year it is only because you have allowed yourself to make poor choices.
We are all faced with choices every single day, it is how we manage those decisions that contributes to how we feel.
Why not keep it balanced? Why not eat healthier options? Let's face it, are you really going to remember what you ate in a three or four weeks time? Let alone in a years time...
I'd like you to cast your mind back to your best Christmas ever... I'd like you to think about what made it special...
I have a few, but I remember the best Christmas I had as a kid was when we (my sister and I) had unwrapped all our presents and were super excited to play with our new toys. Then just as I thought it was all over my dad went out of the lounge and brought in a whole set of cricket stumps and a new cricket ball. I was so happy that I had been given a gift that I knew I was going to use over and over again.
In fact it was a gift that I used every single day growing up - waiting for my dad to come home so we could work on my bowling technique.
My point is that my best Christmas memory is one where I don't even remember the food I ate. It was an amazing Christmas because it was defined by the people I spent time with and the love that we shared at the time.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I hope that you can forge your own happy memories this Christmas, I hope that you can realise that it is the time that you spend with loved ones that counts. You don't have to over-indulge to make this Christmas count you just need to find a balance. Your memories will not be defined by the calories you eat, rather the company that you keep.
Have a great start to 2017!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
We live in an age of viral videos and viral memes instant gratification. An age where you can click a button and get anything you like in a short time. An age where you can be on the other side of the world in less than a day.
It would be interesting to know how that change in the world has affected our level of expectation in life. We’ve all see those inspirational videos on social media where people do amazing things, in fact I read a book this year that touched on video and amazing feats. It’s called 'The Rise of Superman' and it is a fantastic read if you like to learn about how people's minds work. In the book the focus is on the psychology of extreme sports stars and how the digital age gave rise to humans pushing their potential to dizzy heights by simply capturing the most amazing feats on camera.
The book continues to discuss the flow state of athletes and how people who are ‘in the zone’ have a different perception of the world and their abilities are enhanced at that particular time.
Over the last 3 months I have watched a group of men prepare for their own flow state moment, a Spartan Challenge at Virgin Active Solihull where I work. Each year there are a series of exercises and competitors push themselves and each other to be better and stronger than they were in the previous year. The challenge happened on Saturday and the video at the end of this post holds the result.
I am hoping that the video highlights a number of things:
The most notable thing about the challenge is that these chaps have been coming to the gym week on week, month on month and year on year building up their fitness levels. It has not just been the last 3 months that has defined who survived all the exercises and who won. In fact there was one particular chap in the room who has been through 52 different operations after an accident and he is still working hard at being stronger and better day in day out.
When I got into the fitness industry it was because I wanted to help bring people together to become better and stronger, to achieve their goals and have fun in the process. That is what I witnessed on Saturday, was there ego in the room? Yes. Was it extreme? Yes. However without people pushing to their limits the world would be dull place. Let's remember people that learn to push themselves are the ones that end up inspiring others!
With the festive season well and truly upon us I want you to ask yourself a question today; What is my mission statement for 2017?
The reason I write that is because I think it is important to enter the year strong! This will be the last blog post of the year as I will be taking some time off, but while I am away I would like for everyone who comes in contact with this piece to really do some thinking and write our your own personal mission statement for 2017.
My mission statement for 2017 is to continue to be the best possible version of myself I can be and keep empowering people along the way with what I do.
We all have the ingredients to make the most out of our lives, for some 2016 has been great, for other is has been a mixed bag, some have had a rubbish year but it is how we manage the good times and the bad times that defines who we are.
It is your choice to be the best you can be over the next few weeks and into the new year. It is your choice to have your own mission statement written out so that you can focus on what you want. I believe that everyone holds the key to their own success, they just need to realise it and act.
Have a fantastic festive season and if you want to see some people pushing themselves to be better then look no further than the video below!
I'll be back in the new year.
For now - STAY STRONG AND KEEP MOVING!
(This post was originally due to come out a couple of weeks ago, I just couldn't align my thoughts until now. Enjoy!)
I came to a realisation the other night. I am the funniest and most awesome blogger that you have ever read! Just kidding… That is not the realisation that I came to, that would just be arrogant… :-)
Although I have explained that I lost a lot of weight, very few people actually know the full story and a simple blog post won't cover it all. I have given a brief overview in my YouTube transformation video <click here> but I will be getting a better, more detailed and amusing story out to you soon.
A lot of people who get to know me think that I have only just lost a lot of weight once in my life, there have actually been multiple phases. Once when I was in primary school. I became really skinny due to a kidney infection as a child then after that became really fat at primary school.
I got thinner towards the end of primary school, then I got bigger throughout high school and even bigger when I moved to the UK in 2005. After spending a year treading water I realised that I was not going to get to America for golf without some serious work on my fitness and looks. I started getting fitter, then I started to suffer with quite bad anxiety about food choices. I started really restricting myself and becoming overly obsessive about food and exercise.
Below is what a typical day would be for me when I was at my thinnest - 69 kg (10 stone 8 lbs)
6-7km run in the morning
Bowl of fruit for breakfast
Work - tea and coffee
1 slice of rye bread and cheese for lunch with a handful of grapes
More tea and coffee
Golf in the evening after work
Main balanced meal for dinner
Some people struggle to remember what they had from breakfast, let alone what the average day looked like in terms of food and exercise in 2006. I remember vividly because I was so focused on restricting myself as much as I could, in fear of gaining weight. Here are some pictures of my process.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom and calorie restriction; once a week I would have ice cream or dessert after a main meal. Sometimes I would eat a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough. Sometimes I would have a bowl of porridge in the morning instead of the fruit. The point is I got into such a routine with it that I even talked myself into the thinking that my body still had fat to burn off. The reality of the situation was that my body was holding onto what little body fat it had left and I was eating away at my muscles. Check out the picture below of where I got to.
Just do me a favour and forget about the facial hair.
So what is my point? Well the first point is to give a bit of context to my story as a whole, there is always more to everyone's story and life than meets the eye. The second thing is that I was chasing an aesthetic, what I thought was an ideal body, all I was really doing was blindly following my own advice. Sometimes you need to take a step back from things and look at the big picture.
I see a lot of people in a simliar mental boat to where I was back then; whether they are big, small, short or tall they seem to be chasing an ideal goal, an ideal physique or short term solution. I have learned a lot in my short stint on this earth, having to deal with my own body image issues; as far as I can see there is never going to be the perfect body.
We are all going to have some kind of psychological obstacle to overcome at some point in life. The question is, can we overcome said obstacle through loving ourselves?
Finding balance within an exercise regime and healthy relationship with what nutrients I put in my body was the best thing that I ever did for myself. It taught me that there are a lot of physical things that I can control and there are some that I can't. The trick is to enjoy being healthy and use that happiness in yourself to drive you over any obstacles that come your way.
Don't go out there looking for the magic pill for weight-loss or the latest fad to get you the body of a cover model, go out there and be the best possible you that you can be!
I hope that serves you with some motivation this fine Monday morning, I hope it reminds you to find balance and love yourself for who you are. Have a great week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving.
Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.