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!
Some may call the title clickbait, I like to call it a headline to clarify what my focus is.
For the last 3 years I have been working pretty hard on Raw Motion Fitness as company and as an extension of me; my mission is to make the world a happier healthier place through being a personal coach and trainer. I enjoy helping people become fitter and stronger because most of the time it means they are doing something that they never thought possible.
My work, over the last 3 years, has been put towards the blog and online clients. It has been a great time for me as having a business online and writing has allowed me to grow and spread my story far and wide. It has also given me the chance to connect with my past and understand what caused me to have my weight fluctuations. (More to come later this year in my book.)
Whilst working online has been awesome the fitness industry requires valuable first hand experience in coaching, especially if you are looking to expand and offer quality training sessions. Over the last 2 years Virgin Active Solihull has been instrumental in allowing me to learn and grow as a trainer and as a coach. Weekly classes, interaction time with members looking for help and training courses have taken me from being someone scared of talking to groups of people, to someone that thrives off the energy created when people come together for a positive, common cause.
It became apparent to me last year that I needed to realise the potential in Raw Motion Fitness as a fitness brand and the potential in my own abilities as a coach. I had to re-read a books to help me clarify my thought processes, I spent many nights sleeping very little, trying to get my head around what I was going to do.
“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” - Albert Einstein.
I kept thinking to myself, 'The more time that I spend investing in my own creative activity for my entire self, rather than spreading myself thin doing 40 hours a week as an employee, the more I will thrive.’
I made the decision to change things.
Over the next four weeks Raw Motion Fitness will be expanding and taking on clients to train 121 in a private studio space in Solihull. I will be stepping out of my current role and focusing on my life's work, Raw Motion Fitness. I have been communicating this to friends and family and it seems right that I blog about it.
This blog is where Raw Motion Fitness started and is a major part of my life. As a result of word of mouth I have already got 6 face to face clients on board, with space for 6 more at this time, so my slots are limited.
The main website has changed to accommodate the different packages that I offer, one thing I will stress is that personal coaching is indeed PERSONAL. There are millions of ways to achieve great results, my role for the last 3 years has been; to facilitate a progression and change in an individual that promotes confidence in their posture and character through development of good movement patterns and good mindset.
To me, there is nothing more rewarding that seeing someone become confident in themselves and their abilities, especially their ability to move. Being able to lift someone up and help them change their lives gives me immense job satisfaction.
So why am I writing about this today?
Well, the first reason is that you might be stuck in a rut and need some help, if that is the case and you are online or in the Solihull area then let get in touch using the contact form below and we can have a chat for an hour to plan your future. As I mentioned before I have limited spaces available so get yourself on the form quick.
The second reason is that you might be in a similar situation to the one I was in a few months ago, unsure of whether to take the leap and believe whole heartedly in yourself.
The truth of the matter is that you should always believe in yourself. It was a tiny bit of faith and consistent hard work that got me to this point from the rather large person that I used to be. The best part about any positive change that you make, when you start to gather momentum it is simply just the beginning as good energy breeds good energy. Anyone is capable of changing their lives... If you don't know where to start then get in touch and let's work out a way forward.
Have a great week ahead, and remember you are awesome! You have the power to be more positive. You can Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
In the last 15 weeks I have embarked on a fitness program that is totally different to what I thought it would be. It has not only tested me physically and mentally but it also gave me the chance to train with other people and show them that they can push themselves beyond what they think is possible.
I feel like my whole life I have always been determined to be the best version of myself however I have not always had the focus to see things through. I feel like I will always be chasing my demons away, I will always be the fat kid in my mind. I will always be trying to push myself away from the days of cheeseburgers and cigarettes.
Over the last few days I have been asked a lot of questions about my “WHY”. Why have I put myself through a program that is 15 weeks long? Why have I decided to push my limits? Why did I decide on the Freeletics APP program instead of creating my own?
The answer is simple. I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself, to learn about myself and to be able to share that journey with others. (And if I am being honest writing my own program would have taken a lot of my time which I wanted to use for other things.)
My point being, whether you buy an online program or get 1-2-1 personal training it is up to YOU to make the commitments, to show up each day and to stick through the hard times. Push past your limits, YOU are the only one who can break them! There is only so much help people can give you before you have to take care of things yourself.
There have been multiple times over the last few weeks where I thought about stopping halfway through a workout and just going to bed. In fact a couple of weeks ago I had a huge double session in the plan. I started work at 6am, worked until 3pm, ate food and needed to be at a friends house for 5pm. I was tired, I was still hungry and was in no way ready for a crazy workout. This was the session I faced:
50 push ups
20 sit ups
By the time I had to leave for my friends house I still had the final 200 burpees to do. I was so tired that I wrote it off in my mind, “yeah, I’ll just do them tomorrow."
I got home and looked outside to see the sun setting, the garden was dry and I realised that there was no such thing as procrastination. It had to be done. I set a personal best that evening for 100 burpees in a row. (And that’s when I ruined the lawn.)
I’m not saying this to boast, I’m simply saying that we are far more capable than we give ourselves credit for.
Then there is the vanity side of things, who doesn’t want a six pack? I’m not going to lie that the thought of being ‘ripped’ or ‘shredded’ is appealing to me, but I also realise that’s not where life is won. Life is won when you understand that the legacy you leave behind is more important than anything else. Did you contribute to making the world a better place?
My mission statement for myself reads like this:
“To inject positivity into people’s lives and make the world a happier healthier place."
Some days I fail miserably at it, others I achieve it. And what I hope is that by sharing my journey with you I can inspire you to keep going, to be healthy, to live a happy life!
Now, enough of my rambling, if you’d like to see the results of the 15 weeks then check out the images below in the slide show, with the stats! If you have any questions about the process, my diet and anything in between then please send me an email through the contact form below and I’d be happy to help.
Have an awesome week ahead!
Don’t forget to Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
I have a confession to make. Now, it might be lost on some of you that don’t know golf, but for anyone that does, well, you might shun me for saying this…. I really don’t like Gary Player. Now before you stop reading because you are either disappointed that I don’t like him or you actually have no idea who he is I will explain...
Gary Player is a South African professional golfer who grew up through some tough times, he faced adversity head on and took a leap that not many people would have done at that time in the world. He packed up his dreams, and his golf clubs, and set off with the little money he had to play professional golf and make something of himself.
He has won the grand slam of golf (all four majors), he has won 165 tournaments in total an has probably travelled more than any other sportsperson on the planet. Ever.
You might be asking yourself, what's not to like about him? I've met him twice and both times I was no wowed, he has the unique ability to be quite proud of his achievements and to me it comes across in the wrong way- now I may not like him but I damn sure respect him.
He is an example of grit and determination. He is an example of what can be achieved if you never give up on yourself. Some tournaments before he was famous he slept on the beach next to the golf course because he couldn't afford a hotel. He'd then wake up and train before playing; he was probably the first golfer to really focus on fitness as a part of his life, which is what has allowed him to win golf tournaments through 6 decades of his life. There are not many sports people that can do that these days.
I saw an interview with him recently where he said he wants to empower the youth today to, “eat properly, educate themselves and stay fit.”
His most famous quote in my opinion is, “The harder I practice, the luckier I get."
Two very good quotes that I can fully support, I believe that with the correct work ethic, the right nutrition and fitness regime we can create the life that we want for ourselves. Setting yourself up in a strong body with a strong positive mindset will bring things into your life that you might never have thought possible.
Although I don’t like Gary Player very much (and I highly doubt that he will ever read this) I believe there is a lot that can be learned from a man who has traveled the world countless times. He has had a relentless drive to be the best version of himself and he has lived a life that he is truly happy with.
I don’t know about you but that sounds like the exact happiness that I would like to feel when I am 80.
Never limit your potential, never tell yourself that there is a ceiling to your acheivements.
The moment you do that a world of opportunities will open up for you!
Have a great week ahead!
Stay strong and keep moving!
Watch this interview for more on Gary Player
I had planned to talk more today about my favourite book - How to Win Friends and Influence People. I even finished writing my piece and I was ready to publish it but changed my mind at the last minute.
I feel that we need some unity to start the week strong.
I don’t know about you but since Friday my social media feeds have become very political and very, very negative. A lot of people are taking to cyberspace to air out their political views. I have seen friend ships nearly crumble as a result.
I am not here to get political today, this is a positive fitness and holistic blog. I am here to share a simple idea with you. It is the idea that staying positive in a tough situation could save you from falling apart.
Now you might be sitting there thinking, “how can I stay positive when times are tough?"
My answer to you is simple, you have to overcome your fear of the situation. I’ll repeat that last part, overcome your fear of the situation. Fear is the one ingredient that can drive people mad; it causes them to give up on themselves and others. Fear held me back for years when I wanted to get healthy - it made me eat most of the pizza in the world. Why? Because I was scared of the pain and the hard work that I had to put in to re-build myself.
Now I could quote Yoda from Star Wars here, oh hell, why not? He was a fantastically philosophical little dude.
(Put your best in-head Yoda accent on.)
"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to sufferingggggg.”
Never has a statement been so profound from a CGI character on the Hollywood screens, now to quote someone a little more real:
"Don’t fight with the fear, otherwise you’ll become more and more afraid, and a new fear will enter into your being, which is fear of fear. Which is very dangerous.” - Osho
Don’t fight fear, overcome it with positive thinking.
Osho has some amazing words of wisdom and I would highly recommend his books if you want to understand yourself and the world around you a little better. I don’t want to make this blog post much longer than it needs to be. I just hope that you understand that fear is what creates the doubt in people’s minds.
Whether you are trying to change your life through fitness or trying to make a better future for your family you have to realise that fear breeds darkness - LOVE brings light, hope and positive thoughts.
Love yourself and show love for others.
I might sound like an idealist but I don’t think I am, I think that everyone is capable of a showing more love and compassion for each other than they know. My opinion is that, we can all show more love for each other resulting in happier and healthier lives.
This week, why not make it your goal to outshine the darkness that fear brings? Go out of your way to make other people feel good about themselves, go out of your way to take interest in someone else’s life. Show some love for the people around you and I guarantee that your world will change and more light will be let in!
Have a great start to the week!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving.
It’s not every day that you get to sit down and hear a story that rocks you back to reality. I have posted a lot of people’s stories on this blog and I am eternally grateful to everyone that has gotten on board to share such inspiring and wonderful things with the world.
There are two reasons that I keep the motivational and inspirational stories coming:
Sometimes the most inspiring people in the world don’t have a voice or a means to get their message across.
Today I will share a story of a guy named Brian, go grab a coffee/ tea/ herbal tea and a healthy snack and get settled in, because it’s a good one!
My manager introduced Brian to me on his first day as a personal trainer and said that we had a fellow South African joining the team. (I'm from Zimbabwe and Botswana though, but we won’t get caught up in the detail). So there I was, expecting a South African accent and some good African banter but when I heard him speak with an Irish accent my hopes were dashed, clearly he hadn’t lived in SA for a long time.
I never really gave his story more thought until last week. Sure, we trained together a few times in the gym and we always had a good laugh in the staff room; but when he told me that he had an interesting story I was keen to hear it, we arranged a time to sit down and, this is what I learned…
Brian was born in South Africa, his early years were spent in Pretoria and Botswana. His mother worked all the time and he didn’t know his father, which meant he spent the first few years of his life with his grandmother. When Brian turned 8 years old his mother had a dream, the dream was for her family to have the best life imaginable, she had saved all their money and spent it on plane tickets to Ireland… The start of a new life.
They sought asylum in Ireland and managed to get a place to stay, life was hard, but it wasn’t the same kind of hard that they experienced in Africa.
“I remember coming to Ireland and being able to have cornflakes every day, we could never afford them in South Africa. We even had a fake fire in the house - it’s those little things that made me happy.”
They stayed in asylum for a long time and lived with the knowledge that they could be sent back to South Africa at any point, but that didn’t stop them from making friends and creating a community. Years passed and Brian became the ‘popular kid’ at school, life was moving forwards until one day his family were told that they were being sent back to South Africa.
The support for his family to stay was overwhelming and an appeal to the government from the community meant that his family’s case was re-visited. They were allowed to stay and their lives became more stable. Brian’s family were able to move into their own house and for the first time ever Brian had his own room. Life was improving in great ways, and Brian maintained his status as the popular kid. Going out, partying and having a good time with very little in the way of responsibilities.
School was something that he never took too seriously, apart from a little rugby here and there. Despite being liked by all his friends, he was often told that he wouldn't amount to anything. He couldn’t read very well and as a result didn’t want to worry about his future.
When Brian turned 18 his family took a trip back to South Africa, the first time he would set foot in his home country in 10 years and it was a trip that would change his life forever.
“Seeing my family back home with nothing, I MEAN NOTHING, was a serious shock… I couldn’t believe that life could be so unfair, I couldn’t believe how much I had compared to what they had."
Stepping off the plane back in Ireland Brian knew that he had the chance to change, his thoughts had shifted, he decided to act. He went to college and qualified as a personal trainer, the whole time feeding his mind with the understanding that he was trying to help his family have a better life. He wanted to pursue rugby with everything he had and joined a team that was about 45 minutes away from his house; he needed to develop his skills and experience.
Brian’s schedule went from going out and having a good time to working full time in a gym, training and travelling 1 hour and 30 minutes on a bus 3 - 4 times a week just to make the rugby team and boost his confidence. Some weeks he would travel all the way to a game just to sit on the bench and while most people would find that deflating, it simply pumped him up even more. He had to work hard because his family needed him to. It’s funny because when Brian was re-counting the story it felt like a scene from 8-Mile when Eminem is riding the bus and getting his mind right for things to happen.
This weekly grind continued and slowly Brian made more and more progress; though the team coaches didn’t see it Brian had more heart than anyone in the team. He put himself forward for trials for IT of Carlow, a prestigious rugby school where he wanted to push his rugby career to the next level. The trials went well, but after waiting weeks to find out about his future he was turned away…
“Not enough experience, that was it, I had worked so hard I realised that I just had to work harder."
More determined than ever Brian upped his efforts, trained smarter and got in even better shape. The next time the trials came round he was ready, giving it everything he had - the coaches called him in directly after the trials, he thought they would turn him away again but instead they offered him a place. BOOM! The dream became reality!
His time at Carlow was a real test for his resilience, he was in the school but not in the 1st team. The grind continued, whilst other players stayed out and partied Brian was putting his dream first. Despite all his efforts the first year didn’t go well. He started for the 3rd team, got up into the 2nd team only to be taken off the field after 10 minutes in one of the final games.
“I couldn’t understand why... I was working so hard to make my family proud, to chase my dream and nothing was working…. I just couldn’t seem to make a good enough impression on the coaches."
Brian didn’t go back to IT of Carlow, in fact there was a point where he thought about giving up on the dream. He couldn’t bring himself to do that though, he had to keep moving forward, he couldn’t let his family down. Looking elsewhere for a route to success Brian was offered a rugby scholarship to America, all he had to do was raise money to get out there. The grind began again… Working, training and pushing himself to be the best. Despite his efforts he couldn’t raise enough money to get out to America and had to pass on the opportunity. Even after playing in all the practice sessions and games at IT of Carlow and being on point with his training he struggled to make an impact with the coaches back on his local team.
It was around this time that Brian started questioning himself, more importantly for this phase in his journey he started to question his faith.
He had given his life to pursue rugby to chase his dream of being a success, to make his family proud and he didn’t have much to show for it. Sure the experience was great, but where was his prize?
Brian realised that the whole time he had been working towards something for himself, he had been praying for his own success, he had not been hugely mindful of everyone else in the world. Call this another shift in thought, or transformation, but he realised that you cannot just keep taking and wanting in this life, you have to give back. Brian joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has not looked back since.
His shift in mentality brought with it the success that he longed for, he gave himself over to a cause greater than himself and as a result was contacted by the Birmingham Bees rugby team, a semi-professional side and after a few weeks of decision making Brian was signed to the team and working at Virgin Active as a personal trainer.
Now, I’ve never written about religion in my blog posts mainly because I am not particularly religious, but it is an integral part of Brian’s story. You may read this and think that by giving yourself over to God you will receive riches and that is not what happened to Brian, he simply opened himself up to the world and focused on something greater than himself.
There is something truly peaceful about the way Brian looks at his life since he became a Mormon, he looks at the world as a place for giving, that peace that washed over him brings out a huge smile and re-assures him that life is not about proving yourself to others, more about being there for others and bringing them the peace that they deserve.
From being a small kid in South Africa who didn’t even have his own bedroom (or cornflakes) to living in England, playing semi-professional rugby and being a personal trainer at a leading health club in the country. How is that for a story!
He has never given up on himself or his family. He has transformed his life through focus, dedication and most importantly his faith. His story doesn’t just stop there, the change in mindset lead him to his next phase of his journey. Brian will be going on his mission (2 years away from rugby, friends and family) to help others become the best they can be.
"I’m giving God 2 years of my life because he has given me 22 years. At one stage all I could think about was me, now it's about others. I want my nephew and sister to be able to go to tesco and buy cornflakes!"
Brian's story is humbling and motivating. Some people want money and riches, Brian wants his family to be happy and to enjoy the simple things in life. Through his fitness journey and his faith, Brian has found his path in life, and whilst some people might not understand his choice to leave rugby behind, I certainly do.
I hope this story makes you proud of Brian, but most importantly I hope it helps you take the values we have learnt from him and apply them to your life.
Have a great day! Stay strong and keep moving, and if you'd like to follow Brian on Instagram then click here!
Have you ever had a moment in life where something happens at just the right time? Not the perfectly timed photobomb or the funny cat video that someone forwards to cheer you up (though both are equally awesome). I’m talking about something that you come across that really resonates with your soul… I have had a lot of those moments, especially over the last few years. The one that sticks out the most was when I stumbled upon a book, possibly the best book I have ever read, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
At the time this book caught me in a transitional phase, coming out of being obese and into my new skin. I had to learn how to deal with the confidence issues that are related to being overweight. It was scary facing the world as a newly skinny person, the reason being that everyone I met from the moment I hit my goal weight just saw me as Brendan. They didn’t know me from before.
It’s the same as if you are trying to deal with your weight-loss journey, or you’ve just come out of a really tough time in your life. You need to put on a brave face because life goes on, it doesn’t wait for you to catch up emotionally. There is a natural mourning process with anything that you leave behind, especially if it was part of your life for a long time. Now this might sound a bit silly to the average bear (especially since bears can’t really understand English) but I had to mourn my weight-loss. I had to deal with the friendships that it ruined because of my attitude; I had to deal with the emotional attachment to food and more importantly I had to realise that coming out of my shell was the next step in my journey of personal development.
I started to read Dale’s book and then stopped, I went out, bought a highlighter and some post it tabs and then carried on reading it. Every single page had something of relevance to my life at the time; it just made perfect sense to me. I realised that handling difficult situations and building new friendships and relationships is actually very easy, in fact a lot of the things that I read are things that humans do some of the time, but not all of the time.
So what I thought I would do today is share 3 principles that are covered in his book. Then in 2 weeks time I will share another three (hopefully by then you’ll have bought your own copy and will be applying these principles to your life).
There you have my first three, now you might be sitting there thinking; “how does this relate to fitness?” Well, everything in your life is woven together to make you who you are; if you strengthen your body through a tough, challenging workout you strengthen your resolve. If you develop your mind and personal skills you are making your mind fitter and stronger to face the world!
See if you can apply those principles into your life this week, the 1st one was my biggest challenge to myself.
Have a wonderful day! Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
I can’t really remember the exact date that I met Lucy, it was probably towards the end of 2015, I know I was working a late shift at the gym and I’m pretty sure she was doing some stretching, possibly some handstands. My job at that time was to tidy up and maintain positive member experiences; in other words, talk to people...
Lucy and I got to chatting, I asked what she did and she explained that she was a Vaulter. At first I had absolutely no idea what Vaulting meant, I assumed some sort of gymnastics, and I wasn’t far off… If you are like I was at the time of the conversation, then I think you need to take a minute and watch this video below.
How awesome is that right!? Lucy had told me to check out videos of her on YouTube, I was seriously impressed. Vaulting makes the calisthenics stars of today look like they just aren’t trying hard enough. Who needs a static bar to do a handstand on when you have a moving horse?
A few weeks ago I managed to catch up with Lucy at the gym and she told me that she is now ranked No.1 in the world for Vaulting. I remember saying to myself at that point, ‘there is a great story here, I need to know more.’ And so this post began…
In speaking to Lucy and reading up on Vaulting I realised one major thing, I do not know very much about horses or vaulting. Sure, I have written pieces about weight-loss and golf before, but it has always been something tangible that I have experience with. So with that in mind I thought I would break it down for you into some simple facts about vaulting and Lucy to gather some context.
So... Lucy is now ranked No. 1 in the world for Vaulting which is amazing! To anyone who has just met her it might seem like a flawless step into success however she has had to make huge decisions and commitments to be the best version of herself. At one stage she was travelling with her parents 6 hours up to Scotland and 6 hours down again each weekend to be eligible to compete, whilst juggling her GCSEs. She even still maintained her positive and light hearted nature when telling me that. Not to mention the health impacts of what she does; a fall in her sport could be the end of her career. One injury nearly blinded her when her horse’s mane whipped up and cut her cornea.
Then there is the preparation work that goes into a show, getting the horses from the UK across to Europe, making sure all the routines are planned which means being in in peak physical condition to compete. The mind plays a huge role, but so does technique, margins in the sport are very small and the slightest imperfection can have big repercussions. I think the thing that amazes me the most is that Lucy starts learning from the ground up, how to move on the floor, then on a barrel (pictured below), only when the moves are perfect on a barrel can they be taken over to the horse. Some moves that Lucy is learning now might not even feature in her routine for another year, simply because of the time it takes to get it right.
In talking with Lucy I got the sense that she was truly in a rhythm, a child at heart in many ways; but also someone who knows how to get the best out of her training. She has developed confidence and maturity through trial and error. Her mentor, Louise Hazel helped in-still balance in her life, she helped Lucy plan her weeks every Sunday night, a habit that has stuck with her and helped her reach for her dreams. She draws inspiration from Bill Beswick, a sports psychologist, and she quoted him straight away when talking about her sport, “To be the best you have to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”
It is not until the last few years that Lucy has really reached her true potential; for a long time she wanted her mother, Liz, to Lunge for her (lunging the horse is 25% of the process, a lunger controls the pace of the horse in canter.) Liz has had to overcome her own fears in order to help Lucy along her path. For a long time, Liz was too scared to fail her family. It took a loss in the family for Liz to realise that the best thing she could do is face her fears, take the reins (pun intended) and help lead Lucy to become best version of herself.
“You can be in the best shape physically, but on the day and in that environment if you bottle it, then it’s over.”
Patience, determination and strong character are all the things that stand out when you talk to someone striving to be the best, and Lucy is no exception to that rule. I have always believed that it is not how you handle the smooth seas that determines how good you are as a sailor, rather what happens when the waves become bigger.
Lucy has been through the training, the early mornings, the mental preparation, managing a full time job, the long days, the travel, and injuries. She has battled mentally and physically to compete, she has had set backs and faced people who find her physique intimidating. She has spent 20 years pursuing her passion and now trains in strength and conditioning 3 times a week, with sprint work mixed in for good measure. She vaults on her horse, Pitucelli, 3 times a week for 1.5 hours at a time. There is stretching, yoga and even a vaulting barrel at home that all add to Lucy’s routine, this, as well as the team and family that surround her with determination and positive energy are what go into making a world No.1.
I’m sure that there have been times when she has felt like giving up. I know from my own journey in fitness that there are days when all you want to do is lie in bed and watch TV with a big bowl of junk food. The truth is that no matter what you do you will always have to face things that you don’t want to do, they wait for you along the path to your dreams. What defines your character is how you negotiate the route, how you manage your plan to your dream. That’s where true inspiration lies!
That’s why I thought Lucy’s story is such a great piece of inspiration, she is a great example of what WE ALL can achieve if we have the fortitude to stick to the plan through thick and thin!
Now I hope you can go out there and have a fantastic start to you week!
STAY STRONG and KEEP MOVING!
It is about 2 years ago now since I came across video of a man trying to make himself better. Larry Evans, lead a charge, fighting obesity and inspiring thousands of people through his positive energy. Sadly, Larry passed away a couple of weeks ago.
Larry started to change his life in 2014 when he got to 800lbs in weight, that’s 57 stone (363 kilograms) which is quite large to say the least. Some people who get to that size end up giving up on themselves, but not Larry. He took his time, put one foot in front of another and started a journey of change that would touch people's lives around the world. He embraced a mantra of getting fit and trying to be a positive role model for those struggling with their own weight. Larry used his Facebook presence to inspire others to join his fight against obesity. Check out his video below.
When was the last time you saw someone that size in a gym? Such an inspiration that his video went viral and he began to get a following of supporters, myself included.
Larry managed to get his weight down to 640lbs over a two year stretch - that’s a loss of 11 stone (73 kilograms) - which is the same as losing a whole person. I recently wrote to his family and his trainer Chris Booth to pass on my condolences and from what I can tell it has been a tremendously tough time for them. Larry has left behind a strong family unit, and I have no doubt that they will get through the next few weeks, simply because they have spent the last two years training with Larry and developing the resilience that he inspired.
I think if we could all ask Larry what he would want us to do right now I reckon he would say that we should keep fighting to be the best we can be. Keep inspiring other people around us to live their lives in a happy, healthy way. Sure, Larry had his haters, Larry also had his trolls, everyone will at some point in life; the thing he did so well was he rose above it and kept putting out a positive message to the world. The kind of message that reminds us that there are amazing people in this world doing amazing things with their lives.
Larry could have easily given up on himself when he weighed in at 800lbs, he could have just carried on with his lifestyle and made himself bigger. He chose to face life head on and he made amazing progress. In my two years following his page I saw him do yoga videos, swimming, cycling and of course bench pressing.
If he could be active and enjoy himself then there is no reason why we can’t do the same.
I was really sad to hear he had passed, but something lingers and outweighs the sadness in a way; it is the fact that he left such a positive impression on the world. He has left a legacy of positive and active people who will keep his dream of shrinking obesity alive. One of his phrases that I think stands out the most is “Get Fit, Don’t Quit!” Simple and to the point, he had a dream to see others achieve great results, the best thing we can do today is help honour that dream and keep our mind sharp and our bodies healthy.
Let's all go out there, have a great week and live our lives to the best that we can! Let's make Larry proud!
Stay Strong Keep Moving and show your support for Larry's dream by sharing his story followed by the hash tag - #teamlarry!
Hello! And welcome back to Raw Motion Fitness! It has been an absolutely awesome few weeks since I last wrote, with the website going through some immense changes! The reason that I wanted the site to have an upgrade is because it needed to evolve, it needed to be better, faster and more professional than before.
My journey into fitness has been amazing, filled with love and support from all corners of this wonderful planet and I hope that I can continue to share messages of encouragement and insight with you in the weeks, months and years to come. I truly believe that it is only with the support of our family and friends that we can rise to be the best versions of ourselves, and with your support we can make this site AWESOME!
Everybody is inherently working towards something in their lives and more often than not we are working towards material gains; a new job, more money, a nice car, a new house… It is very rare that you sit back and take time to really get to know yourself in this fast paced world. I truly believe that this disconnect from ourselves is what is leading to most of the uncomfortable lifestyles and mismatched diseases that we see around us today. I’m not for one second suggesting that we give up on material possessions and go live in the woods with the bears; I am saying though, that we need to be mindful of ourselves. Be mindful of the fact that life is precious.
The re-launch of the website has been done as I am extending my reach and offering personal training in an online capacity to those around the world. I am offering the in-depth help, support and guidance that gets people back on track and feeling better. I know what it is like to be down and out; I know what it takes to change habits and develop a more positive outlook in life. It takes support and drive in the right direction. We need to be mindful that investing in our health and well being is what will lead us to having a long and happy life. We need to be mindful that working ourselves silly each and every week is not what our bodies have evolved to do. Balance is the key and that is what I work with each client to develop.
The weekly blog posts will continue as they have for the last year and I have some wonderfully motivational posts lined up. So if you are ready to continue the awesome journey then whack your e-mail address into the form below this post and you’ll get a free copy of my recipe book that I have been working on!
On a final note, over the last week we lost a family member, my Uncle Michael, a wonderful man who would do anything for anyone and someone who truly lived his life to it’s full. I would like to dedicate this launch today to him, he lived a life with the energy, enthusiasm and positivity that befits Raw Motion Fitness and I hope that my work over the coming years through this website will honour his memory.
Have a wonderful week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving
Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.