With the modern age and technology advancing, reading is becoming something of a lost art, unless it is on Kindle or it is a text book. I believe even schools are moving toward more and more powerpoint presentations as well as PDF style booklets.
On one hand there is nothing wrong with advancement, especially with the ease of carrying an iPad or eReader as opposed to a big bag of books. I remember going to school some days and feeling like my bag weighed a tonne, especially when high school came around and the sciences turned up with their massive textbooks!
I loved English and creative writing as it was a bit more enjoyable than learning about atoms and mathematical equations… I remember that the only thing that I really didn’t enjoy about English classes was reading, I’m pretty sure it was standard around the world but our teachers used to want us to each read a few pages each out loud. The anxiety would build and build for me as I didn’t want to make a mistake. I didn’t ever want to screw it up for fear of being laughed at. In truth I don’t think anyone would have cared.
You are probably sitting there reading asking what this has to do with fitness, well, I remember when I was younger that I said to my dad that I wanted to write a book one day. His response was, “you’ll need to read more books to write one.” He was right. It turns out that reading and writing go hand in hand… When I started to change my life for the better I started to read more, not with the expressed intention of being able to write a book, or this blog for that matter, the blog happened more spontaneously.
The main reason I started to read was to learn as much as possible about my health and about a more holistic way of looking at diet and exercise. I didn’t want to kill myself losing tonnes of fat, not learn anything and then pile the fat back on again. There are too many people in that boat and as a trainer now I can see it is one of the most frustrating parts of the industry. I don’t blame the fad diets and diet trends, I blame people not taking the time to learn about themselves and how their body works.
I always equate implementing a fitness plan a little bit like taking up a hobby, or starting a new job. At first things might be a bit overwhelming, but in time, with consistency, things will change. Sure, you may need to course correct every now and then, but never stop trying to improve yourself.
You might be thinking that the first thing I’d recommend is a book on the best diet in the world. Far from it. I recommend an array of self help books, one that includes work on the nutritional front. Once you truly understand the change that you want to see in yourself then you can agree to the excitement of it being an enjoyable process. I’m not talking about ‘losing weight and toning up,’ I’m talking about the kind of change that helps you feel good about yourself every day, the kind of change where you feel in complete control of your choices.
All the books I have read have taught me that every step in the right direction is one step better than staying the same. That is what progress is, if you take that and transplant it into a fitness program it works. If you transplant it into dietary choices it works. If you apply it to going to regulating your sleep patterns, it works.
With that said, I’d encourage you to read as much as possible, audio books are a great way to get some reading in when you have other things to do. You’d be surprised how even 15 minutes or 10 minutes of listening in the car on the way to work can lift your spirits and get you feeling more positive about the life you are living.
Here are my top 5 books for you to try out this year:
The last thing I’d point out is that you may have started to read a book of this nature and put it down, you may have found that reading was a bit of a slog, all I can say is that it could be the part of the improvement process that you need to kickstart your mindset. It certainly was for me. The more you learn the more you grow and the more you grow as a human the better off you will be.
So go out there now and be more awesome with each decision you make! Keep learning and most of all Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
A new theme for this year is a monthly Newsletter. It is great to share my motivational writing with you on your respective journey's but I'd like to take some time each month to keep you informed of what is going on within Raw Motion Fitness, it may even come to inspire you.
To kick things off I would like to give a big 'shout out' to every single client of mine, there are obstacles being overcome each and every day and in each session, and I am truly grateful for the chance to see change happen.
Here are a few examples of work that has made me smile this month.
Richard A; a man who has battled a slight set back has risen to the challenge this very Sunday evening as I type this Newsletter. He smashed three personal best times tonight in the Ankorr harness and still had air in his lungs to say how difficult it was! Massive respect and a big well done sir!
Aine; who has been on my Online Motion coaching package for several months now, working towards her goal weight she has lost a total of 2 stone (possibly a bit more now) so far. She has shown that hard work and working to a vision of health and vitality will result in lasting change! Keep up the awesome work!
Jeremy; he has come back to exercise after a shoulder injury and has stuck to the plan we put in place. He has shown massive improvements in his mobility, strength, posture and most of all his push ups! Each session we push that little bit harder and each session he delivers the intensity. Well done sir!
Paul; we just completed our 80th session together this evening! Whoohoo! To say that he has come on in leaps and bounds would be an understatement. From an injured shoulder and very painful knees he has fought back, stuck to the plan, done the 'boring' and sometimes painful homework and seen some amazing results! With a fully rehabbed shoulder and knees that are getting better each session, he has now mastered the front squat, which has given rise to confidence I haven't seen before. Onwards and upwards sir!
Weekly Ankorr Crew; Claire, Kate, Dean and Nicky, you guys always show up and give it your all, even though you may curse me at the start. Your numbers are building nicely, you just need to keep pushing though the next few weeks :-)
There are many more to mention, Val, Michelle, Ankur Joe, Duncan, Steve and Emma always show up and give 100%. Let's keep focused on the goals guys and keep working hard towards the summer time!
At the beginning of the year Raw Motion Fitness merged branding with We Move Fitness LTD. We Move Fitness was a stand alone fitness solution that offered a member's portal stocked with videos, nutritional tips and recipes and a chance for people to become fitter and healthier for only £3.95 per month. This has now become a package under the Raw Motion Fitness banner and the series of videos keeps going from strength to strength. Below is one of the Personal Growth videos for you to watch when you have 5 minutes. Each week new coaching videos are uploaded to the portal for everyone to watch and enjoy. The formats of the HIIT training have proved to be quite popular so far.
The less exciting news is that I have had to knock my Iron ZUU classes on the head at Virgin Active for the time being. At the end of last year I had a slight health concern which has turned out to be a small hernia developing in my groin. Not the greatest news for someone who's job involves lifting stuff. At the moment I am still waiting on word from the doctor as to the severity of the hernia. Right now I am focusing on 3 day split training, and only really pushing myself if I feel right enough for it. I am hopeful things will improve and that the doctor will have positive news this week.
What February Will Bring...
February is often touted as being the toughest month of the year for people. I love February because it is short and that means that March is round the corner, which means April is soon to follow and the Masters Golf tournament kicks the spring season into full effect for me! February is your chance to stay focused on your goals for 2018 - it is your chance to stay committed, no matter what January throws at you in these final few days.
Actions Speak Louder
On a final note, I shall leave you with this. I grew up with the saying, 'actions speak louder than words' embedded into my brain. I don't know why or how it happened, it just did. If there is a change in your life that you have been talking about making or there is something in your life you keep saying you'll do but haven't gotten round to doing yet, then there is no time like the present. We all love to think and sometimes talk about the things we want to achieve for ourselves, right now is the best time to get started and put those words into action!
I work with people each day who are taking action and challenging themselves to be better, faster and stronger human beings. That is inspiring stuff, especially when you find out the individual battles being fought to keep chasing their goals in life. You have the chance today to do the same, to keep rising to the challenge you set forth! So go after it!
Have an awesome week and I'll catch you in the next post, if not before!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
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!
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.