Have you ever had one of those days where you don’t want to get out of bed? One of those days where you really can't face what you have to do in your week because it scares you?
How about one of those days where you cannot find any motivation to do anything, but you know you have to draw it from somewhere?
I'm pretty sure we've all been there, so I figured I might tell you a story today.
When I was at primary school we used to have different houses (kind of like Harry Potter but not really) and you could earn points for your house by doing certain things. One of the things that we had to do was public speaking. Who ever gave the best talk/ speech would be put through to the next round until a winner was selected. After careful thought I decided to talk about snoring, specifically how much my parents snored, mainly because I found it hilarious.
Turned out that on the day in front of about 30 kids in my class the only person who would find my story about snoring funny would be me. I totally bombed, I didn't earn any points for my house; more importantly I couldn't understand why some people were better at speaking than others. I was truly scarred for life and It was at that point that I joined the majority of the world in developing a fear of public speaking or Glossophobia.
Fast forward a few years and I landed a job at Virgin Active as a Fitness Coach.
Part of my job is to run classes and talk to large groups of people. I remember running my first abs class to about 20 members; I felt like I bombed just as badly as my first public speaking engagement as a child. All these blank faces looking at me like I had just crawled out from underneath a rock. It was one of those moments where you look around and wish the ground would just swallow you up in an instant.
After that I went on a training course as part of my induction process and at the end of the course there was an assessment delivering a fitness class to people that I didnt know. The anticipation drove me bananas, I knew that the time would come where I would have to be assessed in running a class to a group of people. I spent the two days on the course trying to figure out how best to prepare for the third and final day.
I didn’t really know what to do or how to combat my fear of public speaking, plus I had to demonstrate movement and get my point across in a limited time whilst being motivating and mindful of people who are less able than others in exercise. Pfff, easy task right?
I went online and bought different audio books which I thought would hold the key to success in public speaking:
All three books were great and I listened to them ahead of my final day - the hypnosis felt very soothing albeit I really don’t think anything happened because I was shaking like a leaf when I stepped into the room for the assessment. I was as ready as I was ever going to be and I got through it.
At the end of the day the only thing that helped me to become more confident in talking to and coaching large groups of people was, well, talking to and coaching large groups of people.
The best way for me to learn was to dive in head first and remember that I already knew how to swim, I just had to trust myself.
I still get nervous before talking to new people these days, I think what scares me the most is fear of rejection by the people who are listening. I think that is something a lot of people are petrified of.
At some point I guess you’ve got to just get out of bed, find out what scares you and go after it with all your heart. Im not suggesting you go and hugs spiders or stand on the edge of tall buildings; but in a professional situation and especially in life we are always going to have to do things that scare us. Just accept the challenges you are going to face this week and you’ll find out that you are more capable than you thought you were when you woke up this morning!
Have a great week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving.
Today’s blog post is dedicated to a friend of mine who is going through a bit of an interesting time in his life at the moment.
The ancient greek poet Pindar once wrote, “Become such as you are, having learned what that is.”
Why is that relevant? Well, I tend to think a lot and I often think about how most people have lost touch with their hopes and dreams from childhood. I often think that most children these days don’t have the chance to let their creative minds take control, creativity is what leads us down the path to our true talents, our true meaning for existence. I feel like we are simply too distracted for our own good sometimes.
You will never learn who you are if you don’t spend time with yourself and actually try, inherently I believe we are all trying to find that inner peace that we once had as children. The peace I had once, running around without a care in the world having thoughts of becoming the next person to walk on the moon or the next superhero!
“We used to fly around the world in a cardboard box, now you're waiting for the bus trying to fit in with the flock, different socks, on one hand you've got a wild imagination, and on the other, is man against the clock, it never stops, we used to look up at the clouds and see shapes now the only thing we see in 'em is rain, it's not the same, 'cause after all the giant dragons disappeared the only battle left to fight was with your chains, cut 'em loose, I liked it better when our dreams were real, we respected what it was to feel, nobody ever put a limit on the things that that made the littlest of kings seem strong enough to cut through steel, grip the wheel, it's a windy little road you paved, it's a shame you had to lose that light, 'cause if it wasn't for the blanket fort walls and the bumps in the night you'd be nothing but a string without a kite.” - Grieves
Those words are from a song called Astronauts, I try to listen to it every day for the simple reason that it makes me think about the awesome dreams that I used to have as a kid. It reminds me that the fire I had inside is still there and it is up to me to harness it.
Realistically we lose touch with our childlike nature and that is why we like holidays so much; we get a chance to touch base with our dreams, hopes and desires. We get a chance to think about what truly matters to us and do things that we enjoy with people that are close to us. We are free! Next time you watch TV and see an advert for cheap holidays think about what they are selling you, is it a beach with trees? Or a ski holiday? Or is it a lack of responsibility? i.e. working 40+ hours a week.
How does this solve your immediate situation? It doesn’t. In 2015 60 percent of workers in the UK were not happy in their jobs. Source Link.
One thing is for sure though, you can always find something that aligns with your talents as a human being. I am living proof of that, playing golf for many years and looking at people’s swings made me keenly aware of the body and movement. Playing golf at a high level meant that I had to tackle the mental approach to the game too; build positive thinking and strong character, I failed at all of that.
I did however learn from my mistakes and have come out the other side to share my experiences with everyone. I could still be pulling pints and finishing work at 3am doing 6 days a week and being constantly angry at the world. I chose to take a step back, re-train and really focus on understanding and developing my strengths. Am I where I want to be? Not yet but I will get there because I found my talents and I must cultivate them with absolute trust in myself.
If you believe in what you do, you love what you do and you show people how much you care then at some point people will see value in you as a person. It may not happen now, it may not happen next week but it will happen.
Stay positive and enjoy the world for what it is, be healthy and live to live. Never sit back and wish you could have done something better because that kind of thinking can take you down some dark roads. As a kid anything was possible, as an adult you forget those possibilities, never forget to explore the world around you, make the most of your life and do what you want to do with your amazing talents.
I’ve been editing this video below for a whole week whilst writing this post, it is of my trip to Thailand last year. I think it will mean more to me than it does to you, but equally you might find it sparks that fire inside of you again to go out there and live your life like the kid you used to be. The world is most definitely at your finger tips. So reach out and grab it!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
For three years I have been writing blog posts and based on the feedback from my readers I think most of them are well received.
I spent a good year and a half populating this website with 2 blog posts every week. That gave way to Raw Motion Photography which now takes the Friday blog post in a more philosophical direction. If you haven’t read any then I suggest you check them out at this link. [Raw Motion Photography]
Today is different, today we tackle a fundamental issue that a lot of gym goers and newbies to the gym will face every single day. It is the dreaded thought of calorie counting, diets, eating less and exercising more…
If you are new to this blog then you’ll benefit from knowing that I once weighed a lot more than I do now. Here’s a picture for reference.
So when I write about calories and exercise I am drawing from my own experience. Having said that would you believe me if I told you that I eat more now than I did when I was wearing my extra 64 kilograms of fat?
Would you believe me if I told you that I can’t remember hating a single meal during my weight loss?
Would you believe me if I told you that during my first year of life transformation I didn’t count a single calorie?
If you answered no to all of those questions then I think you should stick around for more to read. If you answered yes, then still stick around because that is just polite 😉
If you were to Google the NHS guidelines for weight loss they have it all laid out - a 12 week plan in PDF with all you need to lose weight.
Whilst I understand that people need guidance towards setting goals and having structure I can’t help but feel like their program is a very broad brush approach set on caloric limitation. Not only that I read through the plan, at the link below and MY GOODNESS does it make weight loss boring and uninspired.
Fundamentally they are encouraging us to take ownership and track our progress through the program, however I lost interest after the first page of their program because of a simple word. REDUCE. I did read it all the way through and they have done the best they can tailoring the program for the ‘average’ man and woman.
“If people are overweight, it is usually because they eat and drink more calories than they need. This guide will help you reduce the amount of calories you consume.”
There is nothing wrong with that statement apart from the fact that it tells me that I should... EAT LESS and EXERCISE MORE to lose weight.
To me, weight loss is not just about energy in vs energy out, i.e. calories in vs calories out, it is about much more than that. It is about forming healthy habits that continue beyond a '12 week plan', it is about understanding that good, whole, nourishing foods can keep you fighting strong. Foods rich in nutrients that are unprocessed will aid in nourishing the cells of the body and promoting a healthy body and healthy strong mind.
The most common question I get asked when people see my progression pictures is, “how did you do that?” I always answer by saying that I changed the way I thought about food.
I think that a lot of people, unless they have an hour to talk to me about it, will find that reply a little empty, most are expecting the answer to lie in 'the ultimate diet for weight loss.' The truth is that there was no diet. There was only determination and good, nourishing food for the first 2-3 weeks.
Once I had lost a bit of weight I was actually more confident in myself to step outside and start walking. I didn’t join a gym, I didn’t buy the fancy new clothes or drinks bottles or protein supplements. I just went for a walk in some tired trainers and stretched out XXL cotton clothes. I did have some headphones though, good music is always a must for exercise.
I walked fast from one light post to the next, then slowed it down to the next lamp post. I did that every day until I was able to jog then walk. Eventually I built up to jogging round the block, then up a hill and then round a park.
I was fuelling my body with good food, and as a result my energy levels were boosted, which gave me the confidence to get through a walk/jog and still continue with my day at work.
Remember what I said above about never counting a calorie? A typical day would revolve around the following structure.
Drink a cold glass of water as soon as I get up.
Followed by Hot water with a slice of lemon
Wait 30 minutes for lemon water to go down.
Vegetable and fruit smoothie or large bowl of fruit
(Smoothie was great if I was on the way to work.)
Vegetable and fruit smoothie
Apple or handful of raw cashew nuts
Large Spinach, tuna, quinoa and vegetable salad with rye bread and hummus
Apple, banana and handful of raw cashew nuts
Fresh fish or lean chicken with raw spinach, raw carrots, boiled sweet potato, and more raw cashew nuts
(I chose cashew nuts because they are easy to snack on and I love them.)
I would also drink copious amounts of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
I would then get 45 minutes to an hour of exercise 4 times per week. Gradually, as I felt more able, my intensity increased on the exercise front.
My weekly shop was at a local market where I would buy:
20-30 golden delicious apples
strawberries x 2 punnets
blueberries x 2 punnets
carrots x 30
sweet potatoes x 5
watermelon x 1
broccoli x 1
corn x 4
mushrooms x 1 punnet
any other seasonal vegetables I could find, kale, swede, parsnips
Supermarket shopping was limited to toiletries and lean proteins, such as tuna and chicken, cashew nuts, spinach and tinned chickpeas, beans and pulses. This way of shopping helped me save a lot of money but also made sure I was developing a healthier way to shop. Rather than being drawn down the aisles of junk food and booze I was faced with learning and choosing the fruits and vegetables and coming up with good ideas for them.
What is my point in sharing this with you today? The main point I want to get across is that losing weight and changing your body should never be about, eating less and exercising more.
It is about putting the right fuel in the body followed by a progressive and safe exercise routine that will give you the confidence to keep moving forwards, any progress in the right direction is still progress!
The truth about the obesity crisis today is that people will only change when staying the same is more of a threat than the actual change they face.
The only thing that distinguished me from the previous times I tried to lose weight was not my physical strength, it wasn’t my knowledge of exercise or of diet, it was my will to pursue what I wanted. I never gave up because I wanted to be healthy more than I wanted to remain an obese 26 year old with a smoking habit, because I wanted it so badly I saw the value in what I was doing, I enjoyed the exercise because I knew it was making me stronger with every step. I enjoyed nourishing my body because I knew that the food was fuelling the change I wanted to see in myself.
My advice to you if you are reading this and you are struggling to lose weight or you have hit a plateau is to look at how you are nourishing your body, have a look at some of my recipes in my recipe book which you can download here. [RECIPE BOOK]
Most of all just make sure that you Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Have a great Monday.
If you have been following the blog of a while then you’ll know that I love watching movies; so far I have written about Tin Cup, Wall-E, Joe Dirt and Limitless with the idea that we can actually learn something from them even though they are fictitious.
There another movie that I’ll always remember - I was on a plane from London to Dubai on the way to Botswana and the Lego Movie was on the TV. I absolutely loved it because it was simple and appealed to my silly sense of humour.
The movie centres around a character called Emmet who is not exactly the brightest guy in the world, but he is enthusiastic and just wants to be happy in life.
He has his ups and downs in the movie and slowly unlocks his true potential as the movie progresses. At the start of the movie you feel like he is striving to follow a recipe for a perfect life; it becomes clear that things don’t always go to plan but that is what makes his life more exciting and enjoyable.
The song he sings at the beginning and the theme song of the movie is called ‘everything is awesome,' which will stick in your head for days if you listen to it. Despite the slightly satircal use of the song it actually touches on a fundamental part of the movie. Emmet believes that everything is awesome, he stumbles and fumbles and questions himself but ultimately ends up much better off in his life.
It is a new year - 2017 - which means that good things are going to happen, followed by bad things and then some more good things. That is the way of life, I think we can all take a leaf out of Emmet's book (yes I know he doesn't really exist) but we need to realise that tough times won't last forever and with a little faith, hard work and self belief good things will happen.
I hope that helps you start your week in the best possible way. Be Awesome! Be Like Emmet!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
It’s 2017, so happy new year to everyone and welcome to all the new readers from around the world.
My questions to you this fine day are:
Do you want to start the year off with a bang?
Do you want that summer six pack?
Do you want a program that will entirely reshape your life in 12 weeks?
If so then you might want to stop reading this and go somewhere else.
I have seen a lot of marketing over the festive period in relation to health and fitness… 12 week plans, eating clean in 15-20 minutes, workout DVDs - all great quality stuff. Well thought out and well delivered through clever marketing campaigns. Here’s where I’ll venture off into a little story….
In 2013 I saw an advert on the TV when I was walking through my friends lounge the one day. It looked like this…
Rippling six packs and sweaty bodies - the advert said that in 60 days I could own a body like that! I was sold, I got myself a copy of the workout program and started training relentlessly.
I never got that rippling six pack though, I nearly threw up a couple of times but I learned two very important lessons after 60 days of the program.
My points are fairly simple for the start of the year - firstly you are much stronger mentally and physically than you give yourself credit for. You have the ability to exceed your own expectations this year. You have the ability to feel better, to move better and to have a brighter happier life each and every single day.
Secondly there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to achieving your goals. We are all unique individuals which means that we make choices each day that can have a positive and negative affect on our future, sometimes we need guidance on those choices and that is how my job was formed.
Ultimately the buck stops with what you decide to do.
Lastly you have to be able to enjoy the process. Enjoy every second of achieving your goals; every positive choice you make that you enjoy reinforces a positive relationship to a new habit.
You have the power to achieve great things, if you stumble just remember what I said before. You are much stronger mentally and physically than you give yourself credit for!
Have a great start to your year.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.