This week has been an interesting one, mainly because I have been in bed trying to rest for a few days and let my body get back to where it should be. It left me with a lot of time to ponder about the world and also browse social media in epic proportions. :-)
I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a post that scared the life out of me! Check it out below.
The post is credited to a lady called Teresa Parker and she seems to have had an awesome weight-loss transformation herself. The picture really got me thinking many different things, how morbidly obese I was, how I was always popping pain killers, swallowing indigestion tablets, smoking 30 a day and losing sleep. I would love to have known what my scan would have looked like, simply because I could barely tie my own shoe laces.
It is quite scary to get up close and personal with a picture that shows the inner state and strain on the body. The biggest focus points for me looking at that body scan image is the visceral fat (fat surrounding organs), the pressure on the knees, the yellow blobs on the brain and the tilt in the shoulders. The postural defects cause by being overweight can be very debilitating and promote a range of emotions from anger to depression.
When I think back to how I used to feel every day my brain screams OUCH!
Another scary thought came to my mind, based on my last few blog posts we (as a world) are setting our kids up with a future that looks like this body scan. Sure some kids may be able to process all the highly processed food on the shelves when they are younger, but what happens when they reach 30 and have gained 20 kilos? What happens when they keep getting aches, pains and acid reflux? What happens when poor self image results in depression? Will they have the knowledge to make lifestyle changes, or just hope that the prescription pills for their symptoms will take the pain away?
There is no miracle cure for weight-loss, there is no device or pill that can magically return you to health over night. There is only the fact that you have to consistently move with purpose and eat a healthy balanced diet. Every day we neglect those basic principles we allow ourselves to grow weaker, mentally and physically. We are the role models for the kids of today, yet 42 million kids under the age of 5 are either overweight or obese, we have to make changes now if we want to make the future better.
If you are reading this and haven't asked yourself the question yet, then do it now... What does your body say about you?
If you have a friend or a family member that could benefit from this post then please share it with them. I know that support helped me a great deal in my transformation process. If you have any questions on how to get going then feel free to get in touch below.
Have a great weekend!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Continuing from last week's post about smarter choices and common sense, I think that it is quite possible the day will come when government legislation forces stores to cover up the chocolate bars and junk foods in supermarkets the same way that we have covered up cigarettes on sale in the UK. But does it really have to get that far down the road? I mean if we think about the evolution of the smoking world, it went from being advertised on billboards to now being highly taxed and heavily regulated.
When I quit smoking, approximately 1011 days ago (woohoo!) I used an app on my iPhone that made me see smoking in a completely different way. It turned out that all I had to do was two things:
I believe the smoking app's lessons helped me apply the same thought processes to my diet because I was addicted to some really awful foods.
We, creatures of the earth, are marketed to using influence and persuasion. We also love that ‘feel good’ moment when we are eating foods high in salt, fat and sugar because our brain's pleasure centres go berserk! Having crap food surrounding us we offer ourselves the worst chance to make healthy decisions, and we are giving kids the sense that these foods are okay to eat because they are everywhere. Understanding that we have to power to change this at any moment is the most powerful weapon we have.
Last week I went out into town to watch a movie, I wanted to pick up something to snack on during the film. Whilst walking around I noticed several coffee shops, a pie shop, a chocolate shop, a sweet shop and some restaurants; all were very busy. I ended up walking half a mile away from the movie to find a supermarket. Why you might ask? Well the choices at the cinema are just awful, water cost more than the fizzy drinks and there was no real food being sold there. I was willing to walk half a mile away to find something that I knew was going to be good for me.
Most of the documentaries I have watched try to expose the corruption of food lobbyists and food corporations in order to justify the food on sale. If we keep waiting for the government to step in and ban certain foods and regulate the industry then we might as well dig our own graves. The sooner we wake up and see through the marketing tactics the sooner we'll realise that WE are propping up the food industry. Without customers buying their products they are powerless! The availability of the junk food we see today is only a reflection of what we want as a society, the sooner we put health at the forefront of our choices then the sooner we start to win our lives back.
The next time you reach for a packet of crisps or head out for a fizzy drink ask yourself this question: Am I part of the the problem or part of the solution?
We can either keep complaining that no one is changing the world for us, or we can start to change the world for ourselves. I know which part of that sentence I'd like to be a part of.
Have an awesome week ahead, go out there and make the world a better place!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving.
It is about that time of the year when gyms memberships are questioned, and people stop showing up. Where the goals that were set for the beginning of the year might seem too far away and old habits are starting to creep back in, well I am here to tell you that you should KEEP WORKING towards your goals!
The saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day" is a saying for a reason. The sooner we understand that we are the sculptor, the artist of our own future then the sooner we can put the work in and make things happen. I'm not just saying that to be motivational and inspire you I am saying it because I have experienced and still experience feelings of self doubt everyday. Heck I was plagued by it in my golfing career and it is something that I have to work on day in day out.
I'll give you a few examples; working in a gym has been an awesome experience, I find myself constantly inspired by the efforts of the members and the attitudes and dedication of the other trainers. I also always find myself trying to measure up to them in my mind, from a coaching perspective, but also from a physique perspective.
I sometimes look at my body and get disheartened that I haven't got that much definition or that my back is slightly rounded. And I get really annoyed when my body gives out in a session because I can't breathe as effectively and get through certain drills the same as my fellow trainers. It is at this point that I always have to stop and remind myself of the following:
My point here with this post today is that you might have moments when you doubt yourself, everyone does, those moments don't define you. What defines you is how you rise to overcome that doubt.
How do I remedy this? I take 10 quiet minutes each day to read through and think about my goals, to remind myself of the points listed above and that each day I am making progress. I remind myself that this experience is all part of the journey called life and I must go and live it. Now if you feel that you have fallen, get up and dust yourself off because you are the only one who can chase your dreams.
Have an awesome weekend!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving
Last week I wrote a post about the ZUU Chimps Initiative and how it is bringing movement and positive affirmations to children through fun exercise. If you missed the post then catch up with it here.
Yesterday I watched a documentary by Joe Cross called 'The Kids Menu' - I highly recommend that you check it out because it deals with a similar idea to ZUU Chimps in the sense that kids are the future. This documentary takes a look at what some schools and parents are doing to empower their children to make healthier choices. A lot of the people interviewed and featured in the documentary have decided to help and educate and empower the youth off their own back. It is truly awesome that people can come together and make the world a happier and healthier place, and I admire them for their work.
What really struck me is that the documentary was filmed across different States in America, in fact if you watch a lot of food and health related documentaries especially on Food Matters TV you'll see that there is not much mentioned about other countries. It also focused on American statistics, such as 69% of American adults are overweight. Let me write that in bold, 69%!
Now I don't live in America, I live in England, where, as far as I know there are no movies/ documentaries being made to really challenge the state of the obesity crisis. There are TV shows from time to time that attempt to investigate things but they are mostly not very conclusive and I think that mostly because the media and institutions in the UK are so scared of offending anyone that they'd rather just play it safe.
Take this for example; the other day I was in a supermarket, I was there for about 45 minutes to an hour and during my time in the shop a big group of school kids (ages 6-8) came in. They were led straight to the bread and eggs aisle, and then onto the cereals. Whilst I was not fully engaged in what was being said I did over hear the teacher talking about the benefits of eating cornflakes. Now lets just forget for a moment that cornflakes are not very nutritious. What shocked me was that the kids were led straight from the bread aisle to the cereal aisle. Why were they not led straight to the fresh produce section to talk about the health benefits of fresh vegetables and fruits?
Don't get me wrong, I think it is great that kids are being taught about shopping, but what the hell has happened to common sense?
This has not been a traditional Monday post but I thought I would air my thoughts out, if we think about the relationship that parents and children have it is very much give and take. Statistically speaking if one parent is obese a child has a 40% greater chance of being obese. Parents will listen to their kids and kids will listen to their parents. If both parties are promoting a healthy lifestyle then the family unit will be stronger, and the future of the children will be brighter.
Over the next few weeks I have decided to do some digging into the conditioning factors that involve availability of food so please stay tuned as I will try and talk you through things the way that I see them. Just to start things off. Check out this picture and tell me if this makes sense.
Most of what is on that shelf we wouldn't feed to our dogs or cats and we certainly wouldn't water our plants with it, but we allow ourselves and our kids to drink it.
We have the buying power to make these shelves change, we just to make smarter choices.
That is my little rant over for the day, but like I said, stay tuned for more on this topic as the weeks unfold.
Have a great week, make smart choices.
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
If you have been following this blog for a while then you might have seen me mention Tony Horton before. Tony is the creator of the world famous P90X home workout programs and has trained some awesome celebrities in his time. Although an admirable guy from that perspective it is his philosophy on life that really resonates with me. If you have a chance to read his book called 'The Big Picture' then you'll understand what I mean.
Tony wrote an article yesterday which I thought I would share with you - if you would like to follow his blog then follow THIS LINK and I'm sure you'll enjoy what he has to say.
"THE POWER OF NO
No. It’s a little word. And one that has a lot of power.
I see many people’s lives get out of balance because they are not able to practice using that little word. It can even be a struggle for me at times.
Look, we are of no use to anyone if our lives are completely out of balance. Saying no is something that can help you have more balance in your life.
If you are someone that is always on the go, on the move and going from point A to B without taking a breath, this teeny word will be of great use to you.
Often times people don’t say no because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, or look like a party-pooper. And then that person ends up feeling resentful, and run-down.
I know that women in general can struggle with this, especially because women are natural caretakers (Go ladies !)
Balancing Life with No
It’s super important to have balance in your life, and to find a happy medium between your Yin and Yang energy. I am someone who is very Yang-centric; always moving my body, always on the go, traveling and going from here to there. I enjoy this because my purpose is connected to moving, finding solutions and taking action. It works for me because I am so passionate about it.
It may not work well for someone else who needs a little more Yin in their life and doesn’t do well with constant movement and being on the go. You have to know your own personal energy balance and then put your focus there.
The balance between saying yes and no is an important component in this. I had a tremendous lack of balance in that sense when I was younger. I used to say NO all the time and mostly because I was not ready for the opportunities that were coming at me. Fear dictated this lack of balance for me.
You may find that you say yes more often than you want because you are worried about what someone else thinks or letting someone down, as I mentioned above. You need to know when to draw the line. If you are saying yes to things that leave you feeling resentful and you end up missing out on important things in your life, like your morning workout or time you scheduled in to take care of yourself, then it’s time to reevaluate.
Bottom line, you don’t want to burn the candle at both ends and end up being a people pleaser who feels over extended and maxed out. It’s important to take care of yourself first and foremost because this is how other people in our life get the best of us.
So, the lesson here is this: Don’t say no when it comes from fear or laziness, therefore ruining your opportunities to say yes. Do say no when it comes from a need to take care of yourself, therefore increasing your opportunities to say yes.
Saying yes needs to be authentic and not forced. Saying no is the same. So start practicing that balance and checking in with yourself before you give any answer. Let your intuition be your guide."
Have a great weekend ahead and remember, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Last week was a fantastically busy week; hence the reason I missed writing a blog post on Friday for you... :-( On Wednesday last week I had the privilege of being part of a group of trainers that took ZUU Chimps into a school in Solihull. If you are unsure what ZUU Chimps is then watch the video below:
ZUU Chimps is an amazing opportunity for schools to adopt a COMPLETELY FREE mobility program that empowers kids for the rest of their lives. ZUU Chimps help will break down social barriers, and help fight the rising levels of obesity in the youth of today. There are so many reasons why ZUU Chimps is an amazing initiative and I could write about it for days, the biggest reason for me came when I was able to help kids smile and have a bit of fun.
We (Simon, James, Laura and myself) went to Hazel Oak School in Solihull last Wednesday morning and sat with three teachers to talk about the ZUU Chimps program, after about 30 minutes we were able to show the teachers the movements and the purpose of the interaction in the school hall. We felt we had made an awesome impact when a class of 6 year olds came in for their P.E. session, initially we thought we might leave the hall but instead we asked to get them warmed up.
Before we knew it the kids were bear crawling up and down the room and getting HIGH FIVES with their classmates. The interaction was HUGE and the smiles on their faces were even bigger! We only spent a few minutes with the kids, but it made our day just to get them moving and excited. The teachers said that it was amazing to see how some kids came out of their shells and were able to interact.
It truly was an amazing experience and one that we are repeating at the school on the 1st of March, this time taking each class through ZUU Chimps and empowering them with teach back skills. To me there is nothing more powerful than giving children the ability to be stronger and develop life skills; I say that because children are the future of the planet. We may be more connected via technology than ever before, but we have lost contact with each other. Building a mentality that is founded on mutual respect and positive affirmation will help build a brighter future for the kids of today.
If you know any school that would like to get involved in this program then please feel free to use the contact form below. If you have friends or family that would like to see something like this in their school then please share it with them.
I hope this also helps to show that there is a lot of good that can be done in the world; a few positive hours spent empowering children with movement can have a life long impact on their future.
With that said, go out there and have a fantastic week ahead!
Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
I'd like to start this week by wishing you a very positive and happy Monday! I thought that today could be something different, I thought today I would share with you my purpose....
It is safe to say that the single biggest influence in my life at the moment is ZUU; ZUU is more than just a training modality, to me it is life, a culture, it is a journey, it is a way to tap into potential that lies hidden beneath the surface.
On Friday last week trainers and Virgin Active Members from all across the UK met in Dorset to train together and enjoy each other's company for a few hours. It was a meeting of like-minded individuals and each person in the group I trained with is living the journey of ZUU, which is priceless to me.
It is said that a picture speaks 1000 words, so take a look at these:
These are groups of people coming together for a single purpose; to become the strongest version of themselves. The last two pictures are where the most valuable part of ZUU is for me, the culture.
The 'Z' symbol made with the hands is not just a symbol for ZUU, it is a symbol of respect, culture and honest work. The smiles on the faces and the interaction that ZUU creates is one of family. It is also a sign of respect for those who you have trained with. All of these are values that translate into life outside of a gym.
In each picture there are people that have different backgrounds, different levels of education, income and some even come from different countries. During that time spent together in a ZUU class they are all the same, and they need to work together to get through the toughest training they have ever done in their lives. The interaction experienced in a session breaks down social barriers and leaves egos at the door. To me there is nothing more poetic than seeing people working together, having fun and living life to it's fullest, regardless of whether it is in a gym or not.
Truth be told we need more of this culture in the world, back when times were more simple we made it through by embracing the people around us, people were part of tribes or smaller communities that helped each other. Today, I feel, much of the world is caught up in grading people by social status and negative projection; you only need to see what is 'trending' on social media to see the level of detachment people have for their fellow man/ woman.
As a single person you may not necessarily have the power to change the world, but your positive influence can change the world for someone next to you.
With all that said my purpose is to empower people around me through lessons I learn about myself in life and through ZUU. It is to keep moving forward and remind myself and others of positive projection. Over the last two years I have learned a lot about myself and the biggest thing was that I spent a long time hating on the world, that inevitably got me nowhere. This time around I am embracing the world with purpose.
I hope that some way you can relate to what I have written about today and that it can help you or someone you know to realise that there is good in this world, you just need to be looking for it.
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.