We’ve all been there… Lying awake at a stupid time in the night. Thinking about things, about life, about family, about our dreams, about what we want to achieve, what we did in the past. One thought leading on to another, staring with a list of things to do in the morning.
I used to do it all the time, I still do occasionally, but the worst I had it was after coming back from America in 2008, my sleep cycle was all over the place because of the jet lag. I’d travelled from Gaborone in Botswana to Johannesburg, to London to Canada and then to Texas and then back to London within a week. It may sound like I was a jet setting entrepreneur but I was simply going back to get some things after my first year golf at University didn’t pan out.
A little sidebar - I remember getting a Black Cab from the Airport in London all the way to the new flat where my sister and I would be staying. It was about an hour and a half in a black cab. I had so much stuff with me and the last thing my sister had said to me on the phone, ‘don’t get a black cab, look for another kind of taxi.’
The cab ride came to nearly £100 as I rocked up in South East London from Heathrow Airport, completely oblivious that the cab driver had actually done about 4 laps of the neighbourhood before actually driving down the right road. I only discovered this later in the week when I went exploring and realised that I’d been ripped off.
Once semi - established in the UK again I found work in a pub and did some moonlighting for a catering agency. The hours were long and I spent most of my days using tip money to buy cigarettes. Once I got offered a day’s work in Windsor Castle - 12 hour shift, paid at the end of the week - boom! I was in the money, the only problem was I got back to London so late that public transport was few and far between. I ended up spending £40 on another taxi home from West London. Calculating the wage at the end of the week I realised that I had literally wiped out the 12 hour shift for one taxi ride…
It was situations like that that would circle in my head at 2am after a long day of work. The realisation that, A: My dream of golf in America had ceased to be and, B: I was flat broke and couldn’t see a way forward.
I tried various means of sleep accelerants from legal herbal sleeping pills to illegal drugs to counting sheep. Nothing helped and it is amazing the number of sheep that you can count up to…
From 2008 to 2013 I spent a lot of time trying to sleep better, in the end I settled for a simple remedy. I would keep a can of fresh Coca-Cola next to the bed, along with; an ashtray, lighter and box of cigarettes. I’d try and have a gap between my second last and my last smoke of the day. Lighting one up before going to sleep would give me an awesome head rush and before it was gone I’d switch off the light and, boom! I was asleep… Only for a few hours, then I would cough myself awake, have a swig of Coca-Cola and a cheeky 4am smoke, let the head rush hit and... Boom! Off to sleep again. The good news was that I'd gotten rid of sleepless nights. The bad news was that I’d successfully replaced overthinking with a slightly more deathly habit.
I only really cured this behaviour after committing to changing my lifestyle drastically in 2013. Despite the first 2 weeks of change being the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, I can safely say it taught me a great deal of things, I’ll highlight a few for you now.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to commit to everything that I did to change my situation. What I can say is that taking charge of your health with good movement, and applying the right nutritional approach to your life can open up a world to you that you never knew existed. Ultimately it is about commitment to the cause, if you are committed to being better and are open to learning along your path then you’ll get there!
Never fear becoming the person you are capable of being, never fear having the life, the body the mindset that you are capable of having. Turn fear into an acronym and the word changes. Face Everything And Rise!
I’ll be sharing some more of my sleep and overthinking story in the Member Zone this week where I'm on video covering 4 aspects of our lives that we can truly focus on for holistic health, if you are not a member of the site then follow the link here: - Together We Move - and get involved today.
Thank you for your support in reading this blog, and please share with those who you feel could benefit from my story...
Have a great week, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear the word ‘faith’ I think of religion. I think of the many hours at primary school in Zimbabwe talking about the bible and then going to prayer meetings in the mornings of high school. I mostly went to the prayer meetings to avoid being in the classroom with my classmates, as I was new to the school and my promotion to the 1st team of cricket didn’t land me any friends. I think it was because my face didn’t fit...
I used to pray each morning along with other guys from the school, I’d give thanks and inwardly pray that the bullying would stop. It never did though, and somewhere between me leaving that school and leaving Zimbabwe because of the politics, I lost faith in more than just God.
Up until a few years ago I very rarely let the word ‘faith’ associate itself into personal growth. For me it was so closely linked to the Religious memories and it took a while for me to associate the word with self-belief.
I spent most of my years after the high school debacle trying to carve out a decent name as a golfer. Playing as much as possible each week, finding solace in the golf courses of southern Africa. The only issue was that I had very wavered self-belief. If you look at any sport, any goal and anything you set out to achieve in this world there needs to be an element of faith in oneself.
I remember in 2007, walking down the 8th hole of Paris Golf Club in Texas. I wasn’t playing badly or very well, it was just average. I made one bad swing, one swing that caused a chain of events that determined my outcome for that round. It was a competition and all of a sudden I had taken 12 shots to get the ball in the hole, where others had taken 4. Who could I get angry with? How could I let it go? Those were the last questions in my mind as I launched into an internal battle with myself.
I cursed and screamed in my head at how useless I was, I carried myself with a negative demeanour and finished the round way off the pace. The whole reason I was upset with myself is because I knew I was better than that, I knew that I had more to give. It had just become very comfortable over the years to be the person that beat himself up for ‘being useless’ every time something negative happened.
It has taken me a long time to realise that setbacks and negativity are a simple part of life, they don’t just seem to happen to one particular person. It may seem that other people get an easy ride, but in reality it is the way that we respond to that setback and situation that defines how we treat the faith in ourselves. I’m still learning and working on being better at this, it doesn’t just disappear overnight. What I can say is that if you’ve ever had those thoughts about getting fit, losing weight, changing something in your life. Or thoughts that one day you might be the next best tiddlywinks champion of the world. You’ve had those thoughts because ultimately you have faith, you have belief that you have something awesome inside of you.
With that said I’ll leave you with this quote from Marianne Williamson that might help to set the tone for your week and your year!
Have a great week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
The title says it all! We are well and truly underway with 2018 and some may still be reflecting on the year of 2017 and what happened. Over the Christmas break I was lucky enough to have some real down time; some time to reflect on 2017 and all that I learned from the year.
Like a lot of people I know, it was filled with some ups and downs but the most important lessons I have learned this year are that I have some amazing people in my life, and that I could take better care of myself.
Now if you’ve been following the blog for a while you might be perplexed to hear that I haven’t been looking after myself as well as I could have been. It’s true, I stopped consistently eating watermelon in the summer time and since then I’ve found myself delving deeper into the comfort foods of yesteryear. I have put on a few kilos in unwanted fat which is annoying but not the end of the world. Like most people over the Christmas period I probably ate more than I needed to and was less active than I would have liked to be. The way I look at a slight bit of over-indulgence for myself is that as long as I am still moving each day and positive about the direction I’m heading in, then that is good.
With that said, life is about balance, for the most part I was going hell for leather in 2017 with training, building a new brand with We Move Fitness and building up my business again at Virgin Active in Solihull. Since slowing down for Christmas I remembered that sometimes it is not until you stop that you realise how fast you were going…
I sat in the car the other day and said to my girlfriend, “Imagine if we had absolutely no filter on our thoughts, imagine if our thoughts just flowed out of us every time we had a new one.” That launched us into a discussion and we concluded that we believed the world might be a more negative place if that were the case. Our conclusion was that a lot of people hold a lot of stress and tension and angst when they should learn to let things go. Over the last few days that brought me back to thinking about what is important to me and what was important to me when I started Raw Motion Fitness in 2014.
It is vitally important that I bring out the most positive thoughts and positive things to keep being better each day, not only for me, but for everyone that I interact with, meet or train as a client. I’m not saying we all need to wander around singing happy songs all day, but think of a more 80% good, 20% bad ratio. I lost sight of that somewhere in 2017...
Sometimes when you slow down and take a step back from things you can find a solution to the areas of your life that might be more complicated than others.
That brings me to the point of today’s blog post… There is never a better moment to try and better yourself than right now. In my opinion this is the best time to be alive, simply because we are more connected, more advanced than ever before. Every minute we have a chance to make a positive impact in the world like never before, we have a chance to think about the filters that we have to put on our thoughts each day, we have a chance to make them positive thoughts. We have a chance to project positivity out into the world and receive the same energy back.
I wish you a wonderful start to the year and remember, YOU HAVE THE POWER TO ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS IF YOU FOCUS AND BELIEVE!
As always, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
The last week of the year is upon us and the festive season kicks up a lot of stink in the fitness industry. With some coaches around the world urging clients to 'stay the course,' whilst other coaches have said to throw caution to the wind and enjoy yourself.
I'd like to say that I fall into the first category, and in years gone by I would probably urge towards staying the course and being completely focused during the holiday season, especially with clients facing tough choices. The reality is that the festive season is about family and loved ones and with good times, comes good food!
I now fall somewhere in between the two categories and I encourage you to take a look at the video at the bottom of this post for some Christmas advice.
Whilst I train clients face to face at Virgin Active in Solihull I also run an online training company for people looking for help with their fitness and health but can't get to a gym, lack confidence or who need to supplement their training on the go.
I made the video this week for the We Move Fitness followers and also to crossover into the Raw Motion Fitness motivational Monday!
The video below encompasses my advice and Kate's thoughts on approaching Christmas and keeping the holiday weight at bay.
Kate is a mum of two and a very inspirational woman to many people. Kate is doing the workouts in series 5 of the We Move Fitness catalogue. Kate is not a fitness professional, whilst being a mum of two she is also a music teacher and hearing her thoughts on how she plans to deal with Christmas can be very relatable to a lot of mothers and parents out there.
Kate has proven to herself and others that your body can be pushed beyond it's limits but has also learned a lot about not being too hard on herself; have a listen to her thoughts on Christmas time and see if you can apply them to your holiday routine. There will be more on her story in another video soon!
If you haven't seen We Move Fitness before then get yourself over to the website and check it out. There is a 30 day free trial running at the moment and it there are also gift options available for Christmas!
I'd like to take this time to thank you for following this blog, whether you are a client at Virgin or you found me online it is great to be able to reach people with my ramblings week in and week out.
This week will mark the last blog post of the year, with the 1st of January landing on a Monday you'll see a new motivational post on the first day of the new year!
Have an awesome Christmas and a very happy new year and I'll write again in 2018!
Stay strong and keep moving!
With winter well and truly here in the UK and the dark mornings keeping people in bed longer it is easy to forget about the simple things in life, like going outside. Depending on the time I leave the house I normally catch the first glimpse of daylight peaking over the horizon.
This is my view (below) when I get out the house in the mornings.
Now, that is often the view on nice days and considering there is a lot of rain in England that is not the view most days. Having grown up in Africa I can categorically say that any glimpse of sunlight makes me yearn for warmer weather.
It’s normally in those moments that I become very thankful for the ability to enjoy being outside and walking outside in the early mornings. Even if it is a short walk to the car and a drive into work in the early hours of the morning. Why am I thankful you ask? Well, up until a few years ago the only time I ever saw 5am was after a late night out or coming home from a crazy late shift in a bar where I completely hated my job.
I would never be getting up to exercise and certainly wouldn’t want to move from bed unless it was to go to work or the shops for cigarettes and crisps.
Every time I walk out my doors and the sun is shining I take that little bit longer to get to my car, I sometimes take a walk when I can, or I simply stop for a moment and appreciate the fact that my life has changed for the better. I’m, thankful that I'm not lying in my bed every single day off, smoking 20 cigarettes, letting food comas kick in to ‘get extra rest’ and hoping against all hope that I don’t have to get out the house.
This month is important for a lot of people, for most, it is about family and spending time with loved ones. I'm here to say that you should make this month count for the better by keeping active. Keep yourself moving, don’t put things off until the New Year because you could miss moments like the one that I saw the other day, blue skies, fresh air and sunshine!
Stay active this holiday and encourage others to be active too. It just might help save someone’s life. I know that movement saved mine!
Have a great week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Last year I helped to run an event at Virgin Active Solihull that has been a tradition for a few years. The event is called the Spartan Challenge… This year I was asked if I’d like to run the event with one of the members who helps each year. The video below is the result of the hard work that all the competitors put in to achieve the fitness levels necessary to compete.
It was really great to see people joining together, pushing each other and making the event truly inspiring to watch. Some people might sit an question why people would push their bodies and minds to such a point of destruction.
I think it is because once you’ve learned how to push your own limits, mentally and physically you start to realise that there is a certain flow state that you reach. I’ve written about this before (click here to read it) it’s a state of mind where nothing else matters, you are not thinking about anything other than the task at hand. The sense of achievement in pushing yourself beyond limits, whether it is in a tough workout, a new task at work, a challenging hobby or losing some weight makes the suffering worth while.
Fitness is such an interesting thing to measure because the fitter you become the smaller the leaps of progression become, it is why I am a firm believer in chipping away at your goals, everyone in that room on Saturday had to start somewhere and had their own challenges within the challenge.
I feel a lot can be learned from watching them compete; sure there something very primal about the nature of competition, but Saturday meant many different things to many different people. For me it was about bringing people together to be fitter, stronger and better than they were the day before. I think there might be those who will look at this video and say, ‘I’d never be able to do that.’ If you want to say that to yourself then note this down and repeat it each day until it sticks…
“Never say that you can't do something, or that something seems impossible, or that something can't be done, no matter how discouraging or harrowing it may be; human beings are limited only by what we allow ourselves to be limited by: our own minds. We are each the masters of our own reality; when we become self-aware to this: absolutely anything in the world is possible.
Master yourself, and become king of the world around you. Let no odds, chastisement, exile, doubt, fear, or ANY mental virii prevent you from accomplishing your dreams. Never be a victim of life; be it's conqueror.”
― Mike Norton
With that said, go out there and have an epic week and an awesome build up towards Christmas!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
It seems unreal that 16 years ago I left the country of my birth, the thought only dawned on me the other day that I have been out of Zimbabwe for over half my life. It is also insane to think that I have spent about 14 years avoiding the country as a topic of conversation for the simple reason that the discussion always ends with the same question. "How much suffering do people need to go through before change happens?"
Each person that has fled the country will have endured what they could for as long as they could. Those that stayed have endured more… One word springs to mind when I think about the nature of Zimbabweans, the word is resilient.
There is a saying that I grew up with, it is one that I think is sums up the Zimbabwean nature and attitude towards life.
The saying is ‘make a plan.’ It is used for a lot of situations…
George, “lets meet up next week.”
Fred, “yah, lets make a plan.”
George, “ah man, there is no petrol at any of the fuel stations in Harare.”
Fred, “we’ll make a plan.”
George, “I need to go overseas but can’t buy and foreign currency in Zimbabwe.”
Fred, “no stress man, I know someone who can make a plan.”
With social media and online media companies erupting in celebrations over the last 12 hours it is safe to say that the people of Zimbabwe ‘made a great plan’ for what seems to be a peaceful transition of power.
I wanted to write about this on Monday as the blog post for the day, however I wasn’t sure that things would turn out the way that they have. Is Zimbabwe safe? In my view, not yet, but there is certainly hope, there is a way forward for the country. The people of Zimbabwe should remain resilient.
Is there something to learn from the last 37 years of Mugabe’s reign? Of course, there is tonnes to learn, the most important of which is no matter how dark times get stay resilient, make a plan that gets you the life you want and remain as stoic as possible in the process.
I wish the people in Zimbabwe a peaceful transition into new leadership, one that sees them prosper as a very deserving nation. I wish everyone else who reads this the ability to see past any cynicism over power and politics, (I am guilty of that in a big way), and see the positive - there is always a peaceful way to achieve what you want.
Have a great end to the week!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
It's amazing how much things can change in 30 days. I've been seeing a lot more clients at Virgin Active Solihull and my workload has determined a slightly later blog post this week.
In the last 30 days I have witnessed some clients reach some amazing personal bests. From a client mastering a front squat after years with troublesome knees, to seeing people smash some Ankorr challenges and beat their timings week on week.
It has been wonderful to see, and the best part is the fact that people have put the effort in to become better versions of themselves, they've enjoyed their training more and understood the results are because of their strong efforts.
It has reminded me to remind all of you out there to trust the process.
Tough times do still happen when things are going well, especially on a fitness journey. It's about taking the rough with the smooth and pushing towards the goals you've set for yourself.
None of my clients got there because of my drills or my shouting, they got there through sheer will to be better than they were the day before.
Heading towards Christmas it is easy to forget about things and 'let things slide'. I'm saying that you should use this time to be laser focused and remember that you've got what it takes!
This midweek motivation is all about forgetting that I didn't post on Monday... haha, but also to remind you to be the best you can each day... You never know where you'll be in 30 days time.
Have a great push to the end of the week!
Stay strong and keep moving!
This post will be a shorter one this Monday for a number of reasons. The first and most important is that I wrote a completely different blog post for today; however, I felt it necessary to follow up two previous blog posts from a couple of years ago now.
If you haven't heard or read about Marc Cayeux, I'll give you a brief rundown but take some time to check out the two previous posts by clicking on the images below.
The reason I bring this up is because Marc made his first cut on the Sunshine Tour since being injured in a car accident in 2010. It has been 7 years of recovery and trials and tribulations with surgeries and having both legs shortened. One was not by choice, the other was by choice.
To say that he has been through the wars is an understatement but he has fought back strong and is in a position where his confidence can only keep growing. If you can watch the video where he is interviewed on the Sunshine Tour's Facebook page you'll understand that Marc has a strong mind; "What ever you want to do in life, you've got to stay focused on it, believe you can do it, stay committed to it."
Watch his video below:
In my mind, no better words have been said when talking about a come back from a serious set back. I can vouch that the attitude Marc carries with him will serve him late into his career because he has the fight not to give up.
Last week I spoke about turning a negative emotion into a positive outcome, well Marc exemplifies this. 27+ surgeries and procedures and endless support from his loved ones has got him, literally and figuratively, back on his feet.
I hope that you can take this into your Monday as a bit of motivation and inspiration that you can make positive change happen in your life. Just believe you can and chip away at it each day and be proud of your work!
Have a great week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
"Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re probably right." - Henry Ford
I mentioned last week that I was building up to writing something about onions, in truth this post has been in the making for several months.
The title, somewhat bizarre, might lure you into thinking, ‘how dare you call me an onion.’ Well, let me explain.. (I have actually written about this in the first part of my book which is coming soon, I promise...)
When I was 13 years old I started high school in Zimbabwe at a very interesting time in my life. The goal, to play cricket for Zimbabwe.
I went to high school at one of the best cricketing schools in the country, a private school that was heavily influenced by ‘old school’ boarding school culture. Despite having played provincial cricket at a young age and being captain of my primary school team for my final year, I was not known at the new big high school.
I don’t quite know what went wrong within the plan, but I think my troubles started in the classroom and just after I was placed in the A team for cricket. I was in the bottom ‘C’ stream of my year in classes, I struggled socially with the kids in my year and worked hard to get into the ‘B’ stream.
High school felt like I had stepped into another world, a world which I had no place in. I was always a, ‘solid B’ kind of student. Never really awesome, some potential but laziness and day dreaming about sport led me towards under utilised potential in the class room.
Despite that I was keen to break free from the 'C' Stream and my attitude towards the classes and improving myself to get to the next stream wasn’t something that made me a really cool dude in my high school year. My time at that school ended after bullying and some traumatic experiences. I was too shy to stand up for myself and when I did it was too late which caused more problems for me.
As a result of what happened I lost my focus with cricket and gave up on it, I spent more time focusing on golf. I also developed a want to be liked, a fear of confrontation and desire to have good friendships.
Throughout my years I have always tried to be nice to people, mindful of other people as best I can, sometimes to my own detriment. I’ll delve deeper into this in my book. The reality is I have spent a lot of time in my life trying to learn from various incidents and experiences that I thought all happened to me, it wasn’t until I read a book recently that I realised things happened because of me...
The book is called, ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck.’
Known as; 'A Counterintuitive Way To Living A Good Life.’
I know what you might be thinking, “How does the title align with a positive outcome?” At least that is what struck me when I read the title, but the deeper I got into the book the more I realised that the author had some great points to make. I’ve highlighted some of the key points that stood out to me below:
Specifically on the fourth point, our deepest layer as a human being is going to be our value layer. if we have pretty poor values then the rest of the onion becomes pretty bad.
Good values are:
The point the author drives home and this is one I can truly vouch for is that if you are miserable in your current situation it is because you feel that you lack control of something in your life. Like 'bad luck' has been thrust upon you. The reality is that we are responsible for everything in our lives, because it is our life. We are in control of how we interpret, react and or respond to everything in our lives. Blame and fault are past tense whereas responsibility is present tense.
I can truly vouch for the fact that it wasn’t until I took responsibility for my own health and stopped blaming my depression that I started to emerge from a dark point in my life. I had to change my values towards health and wellbeing before I took a step in the right direction. The positive emotions of success in reaching a goal are rewards for taking action. Which is why I talk to my clients about their ‘wins’. Understanding and recognising your ‘wins’ is how you know you’ve taken action.
So, this post has a little bit of everything in it today, you can apply it to life and fitness. Most of all you can use it to assess yourself and drive yourself forwards. Remember you are an onion and your layers and emotions can truly govern your circumstances.
I wasn’t 22 stone and miserable because someone threw 100000 cakes in my mouth, I was 22 stone because I had lost my way, I had lost sight of my values and allowed negative emotions to define me instead of challenging me to be better.
If you are feeling down and out, or know someone who is then this is your chance to explain to them (or yourself) that you need to take action and become the best and strongest version of yourself that you can!
Have a great week.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.